Senate reaches deal to avoid weekend work

Both sides in the Senate agreed to a vote package Friday in order to avoid working through the weekend.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said there would be votes shortly after 11:30 p.m. Friday on the continuous spending resolution that funds the government for another six months; a containment resolution on Iran; and on Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) bill to end foreign aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan.

Paul had been filibustering the Senate, delaying votes by requiring that the maximum amount of time be spent on each vote until he got a vote on his own bill.

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Reid caved earlier this week, saying he’d allow a vote on Paul’s bill, S. 3576, as long as Republicans agreed to have a vote on both the spending resolution and the sportsman package for hunting and fishing enthusiasts. But on Friday, Reid said work on the Sportsman Act would have to continue when the Senate returns after the election.

The House passed the spending resolution, H.J.Res. 117, last week. The resolution puts the government on pace for $1.047 trillion in discretionary spending in 2013, the same level agreed to in last year's Budget Control Act.

S.J.Res. 41 is a containment measure that would send a message to Iran that the United States will not accept an Iran with nuclear weapons capabilities. It was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and has 82 co-sponsors.

The Sportsman Act, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) will get a vote on a motion to proceed Friday night. S. 3525 would increase access to federal land for hunters and fishers while also supporting conservation measures.

Reid praised the bill for bipartisanship and said there was no reason Republicans should object to the measure, especially since it doesn’t cost anything.

“If you flipped through the dictionary and found the definition of 'bipartisan,' some of it would be this Tester package,” Reid said on the floor Thursday.

Reid also said when the Senate returns it will take up a housing bill by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).