Republican senators failed to secure a key procedural vote Tuesday to block the Environmental Protection Agency's contentious Water of the United States rule that critics say would bring down the gauntlet of federal enforcement upon private land owners.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said ahead of the 57-41 vote that the Obama "administration's so-called Waters of the U.S. regulation is a cynical and overbearing power grab dressed awkwardly as some clean water measure."

His Democratic counterpart, Harry Reid of Nevada, warned the GOP that they would fail if they try to invoke cloture to move the bill to a full vote on the Senate floor. The GOP needed 60 votes to move the bill forward.

"This legislation will fail, of course, and Republicans know it will fail," Reid said. "They are just wasting valuable Senate time on these show votes."

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