Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidReid knocks GOP over 'light' Senate schedule McConnell sets up vote to begin debate on defense policy bill The Trail 2016: Dems struggle for unity MORE (D-Nev.) on Wednesday moved forward on a $984 billion spending bill after GOP senators lifted their hold on the measure.
Sens. John McCainJohn McCainTrump scores heavyweight establishment Republicans on fundraising team Defense bill renews fight over military sexual assault Senators tout 4.5B defense spending bill that sticks to budget MORE (R-Ariz.) and Tom CoburnTom CoburnMcCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump The Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes MORE (R-Okla.) had blocked the bill Tuesday, arguing that they had not been given enough time to read the 587-page legislation and charging that it contained wasteful spending.
Coburn took the floor on Wednesday and said he had finished reviewing the bill and was ready to proceed.
The bill, negotiated by Senate appropriators, would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year and avert a government shutdown.
“This is a real shame,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “I said last week that we’d have opportunity for amendments … but each day that goes by we’re unable to have the amendment process.”
But Coburn defended the delay, saying that senators needed more time to properly review the bill's provisions.
“We have no objection to proceeding to this bill if there is a fair and open process,” Coburn said on the floor. “There was no attempt to filibuster this bill, there was an attempt to do our jobs.”
Reid wants to finish the process on the spending resolution so that the upper chamber can switch its attention to moving Sen. Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds The Hill's 12:30 Report Senate approves Zika funds MORE’s (D-Wash.) budget proposal before the Easter recess.
The Senate is hoping to conclude work on the measure this week and send it back to the House for a final vote. If the House and Senate do not agree to a measure by March 27, the government could shut down.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiThe Trail 2016: Sanders who? Dem senator to Sanders: 'When it's over, it's over' Dems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees MORE (D-Md.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) negotiated the bill, which sets the same spending levels as a government funding measure approved by the House last week.
But the Senate bill adds three full appropriations measures to the House version. The House bill, H.R. 933, funded defense, military construction and veterans programs, while the Senate version adds appropriations for agriculture, homeland security, and the commerce, justice and science funds.