Senate set to vote on deal to resolve D.C. airport fight

The Senate will vote on an amendment Thursday that could resolve an impasse over how many long-distance airline slots would be added to Reagan National Airport.

The so-called "slots" issue and an argument over labor rights for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees have stalled the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization bill in the Senate for nearly three weeks.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that prior to the final cloture vote on the FAA bill, the Senate would vote on an amendment from Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) that could resolve the issue.

Reid said that even if the amendment fails, the Senate will proceed to a vote to end debate on the underlying FAA bill.

The danger is that if senators are not satisfied with the slots deal, they will not vote to open the final phase of debate that would lead to a vote on the bill.

Another possible hitch in the schedule is a disagreement that arose Wednesday with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) Coburn suggested on the floor that he would hold Democratic amendments hostage until leadership allowed him to introduce five cost-cutting amendments to the bill.

In his morning remarks, Reid said senators were working with Inhofe to find a resolution.

Reid also insisted that every senator's voice had been heard and that there was "no reason" the Senate could not finish the FAA bill and adjourn Thursday night. He also emphasized the importance of work in their home districts.

The Senate has a Presidents Day break scheduled to begin this weekend.