By Ramsey Cox
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) started the procedural process Sunday so that the Senate can debate and pass the budget and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) before leaving from the Christmas holiday.
Reid filed cloture on the budget deal brokered by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and her House counterpart, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which would end $63 billion of sequester spending cuts, and add in new fees and some federal savings to cut the budget deficit by $23 billion more in 2014.
Similarly, the House passed a last-ditch NDAA bill 350-69, which bodes well for Senate passage. The bill is a new version of the NDAA that was developed over the last two weeks, after it became clear that fighting in the Senate over amendments would stall passage until sometime in 2014. Congress has passed an NDAA bill for 51 years.
Reid said Friday that the Senate would consider the budget deal Tuesday and the NDAA Wednesday, just days before the chamber is expected to adjourn for the year.
The Senate is expected to finish up work on the confirmation of some executive nominees Monday evening.