Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThe Memo: Winners and losers from the battle over health care GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support MORE (R-Ky.) is setting up the Senate to wrap up its work for the year on Friday as lawmakers race to leave Washington for their holiday recess.
The Republican leader said senators have reached a deal to speed up votes on the year-end omnibus spending bill, as well as a separate tax package.
The agreement puts the Senate on track to finish its work Friday afternoon. Under the deal, the tax and spending bills, which are being moved simultaneously in the Senate to save time, could face up to three procedural votes before final passage.
Senate Republicans had previously suggested they would try to move the legislation on Friday.
"Nobody, I think, sees any benefit of stringing this out any longer than necessary, so my hope is that we'll be able to conclude this Friday," Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill Senators push Trump on defense deals with India MORE (Texas), the chamber's Republican whip, told reporters.
The Senate had been scheduled to adjourn for the year on Friday, but passing a short-term spending bill that ran through Tuesday, Dec. 22, raised concerns that lawmakers could stay in Washington into next week.
McConnell announced the deal on the Senate floor, which requires the consent of every senator, just as Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers With no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder MORE (R-Fla.) was suggesting in a television interview that he could slow down the spending package.
“We should use every procedural aspect that we have to slow it down and perhaps force some changes on these things we've been discussing,” Rubio, who is running for president, told Fox News.
But Democrats quickly pounced on the senator's comments, suggesting he had missed his chance to block the Senate from voting on Friday.
"There's nothing Sen. Rubio can do to 'slow down' the votes now that the time agreement is locked in," Adam Jentleson, a spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE (D-Nev.) said on Twitter.
Sen. Rubio was apparently too busy doing Fox interviews to take the steps necessary to "slow down" the omnibus, as he said he intended to do— Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) December 17, 2015