By Ramsey Cox
Reid said there still wasn’t a final agreement on amendment votes to the continued spending resolution, negotiated by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Shelby and Mikulski worked through the weekend to ensure that a deal would be reached. Reid said he believed a breakthrough was close, but said it would require members on both sides to give up having votes on their amendments.
The Senate bill added 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.
Reid said senators needed to finish work on that bill in order to send it back to the House for final passage otherwise the government could shut down after March 27. He said that if there isn't an agreement on amendments, there will be a 5:30 p.m. vote on the motion to end debate.
Reid also wants to finish work on spending bill by the end of Monday because 50 hours of debate is required on the budget resolution, which Reid wants to pass before senators leave for Easter recess.
“If we don’t finish over the weekend we’ll need to come back after Passover,” Reid said.
The Senate Budget Committee completed work on Chairwoman Patty Murray’s (D-Wash.) budget at the end of last week. Once on the floor, senators are allowed to offer unlimited germane amendments, meaning long nights voting on possibly hundreds of amendments later this week.