Moran blocks Reid from advancing CR, starting budget debate

On Monday, the Senate voted to end debate on the continued spending resolution negotiated by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Unless an agreement is reached to vote on amendments and final passage, the next vote on cloture will be on Wednesday, and then final passage would be Thursday.

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"Now, what we’re doing is burning post-cloture time," Reid said. "This is really a waste of time because we have so many important things to do. Next in line is the budget resolution. We’ve heard speeches over here saying, 'Oh we need a budget resolution' … We want to satisfy the Republicans, and we want to get to that budget debate."

Moran’s amendment was not one of the amendment votes Reid proposed would take place ahead of final passage. Moran's amendment has bipartisan support and would transfer $50 million of funding for the Federal Aviation Administration to keep some air traffic control towers from being closed due to sequestration cuts.

Reid proposed Tuesday that the Senate vote on just two more amendments to the C.R. — one funding food inspectors from Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and another amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would have transferred military funds for biofuels to operation and maintenance funds in order to lighten the burden of sequestration cuts.

Reid has said he hoped to complete work on the Senate spending bill Tuesday, which sets the same spending levels as a government funding measure approved by the House earlier this month. 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 Affairs programs, while the Senate version adds appropriations for Agriculture; Homeland Security and the Commerce, Justice and Science funds.

Reid also wanted to begin consideration of the budget because, not only is 50 hours of debate required, but there are votes on unlimited germane amendments until final passage. The Senate was scheduled to recess for two weeks starting Friday, but Reid has now said senators should expect weekend work.

“The Senate will not leave — I’m telling everyone for the third time — for Easter recess before we pass a budget,” Reid said.

Reid said that because of the GOP obstruction, senators would have to once again consider rule changes to how the body operates.