By Ramsey Cox
Reid said leaders could not reach an agreement on the remaining 99 amendments to the $984 billion spending resolution that was negotiated by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
Reid said that he was “disappointed” in both Republican and Democratic senators for offering too many amendments that should go through the regular order process rather than being lumped onto a bill to fund the government for six months.
“We have five different amendments on Egypt,” Reid said. “This is a C.R. for six months. We have a Foreign Relations Committee, that’s where this should take place.”
The Senate bill sets the same spending levels as a government funding measure approved by the House last week, but adds three full appropriations measures to the House version. The House bill, H.R. 933, funded Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs programs, while the Senate version adds appropriations for Agriculture, Homeland Security and the Commerce, Justice and Science funds.
Mikulski and Shelby said they would work through the weekend with other senators to try and make sure the bill is completed on Monday.
“Every senator has the right to offer amendments, but I would hope they wouldn’t do it all on this bill,” Mikulski said. “Our goal is to get the federal government funded through the end of the year so that we don’t have a government shutdown.
“I would hope on Monday, senators come ready to really wrap it up.”
Earlier Thursday, the Senate approved an amendment from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) that would delay enforcement of an Environmental Protection Agency rule against farms on oil spill regulations from the end of May to the end of September by prohibiting use of funding for the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure rule. His amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent after he amended the language.
Inhofe said his amendment would have given the EPA more time to speak to farmers, who he said would be harmed by the regulation.
Reid allowed amendment votes to the bill, but originally said he wanted to finish work on the continued spending resolution by the end of the week in order to 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.
Reid also wanted to finish work on the spending bill this week so that the Senate could begin consideration of the budget resolution from Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and finish work on that before the Easter recess.