The legislation was the subject of a heated, partisan debate on Wednesday in which Democrats said the bill would favor China and other entities that hold U.S. debt over Americans who use government programs.

But Republicans rejected this and said it is meant to give flexibility to the government in case it bumps up against the debt ceiling. In this way, they said, it would help the government use its regular tax revenue for government programs and then borrow more money to make interest payments on the debt.

On Wednesday, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) accused Democrats of either being confused by the bill or purposefully misstating what it would do.

Some of the confusion may be due to the original version of the bill, which did not allow new borrowing above the debt ceiling. Instead, it would have required the government to make interest payments first before funding other programs.

Regardless, members will debate the bill for an hour, then consider an amendment from Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) that would prevent government borrowing to pay the salaries of members of Congress.

The Senate also starts early, at 9:30 a.m., and will continue work on S. 601, the Water Resources Development Act. This bill authorizes various water projects, including coastal and storm restoration projects.

The Senate considered several amendments on Wednesday and may consider more on Thursday. However, the Senate adjourned Wednesday with no definitive plan.

Senate Democrats have indicated that work on this bill may go into next week.