The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that prevents a government shutdown and allows the upper chamber to begin work on passing a budget.
In a 73-26 vote, the Senate approved a $984 billion continuing resolution that keeps the government funded through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The House is expected to approve the bill before adjourning on Thursday.
Twenty-five Republicans and Sen. Jon TesterJon TesterBattle begins over Wall Street rules Dems hunt for a win in Montana special election Tester raises M for reelection MORE (D-Mont.) voted against the measure.
Passage allowed the upper chamber to immediately pivot to the budget offered by Senate Democrats, which, if approved, would be the first Senate budget in four years. Dozens of amendments are expected to be considered, but by moving to the budget on Wednesday, the Senate has a shot of completing its work before the weekend.
Without the deal, a final vote on the continuing resolution would have been scheduled for Thursday afternoon, and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) had warned he would not let senators go home until work on the budget is completed.
The funding vote moved forward after a deal on amendments between Reid and Senate Republicans.
Several GOP amendments were considered, but Sens. Jerry MoranJerry MoranAt the table: The importance of advocating for ABLE GOP lawmakers lead way in holding town halls Yahoo reveals new details about security MORE (R-Kan.) and Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteBottom Line How Gorsuch's confirmation shapes the next Supreme Court battle THE MEMO: Trump set to notch needed win with Gorsuch MORE (R-N.H.) dropped their insistence on continuing debate into Thursday unless they got votes on their proposed amendments.
The deal announced Wednesday doesn't eliminate the possibility of weekend votes, but it does make it more likely that the Senate could complete work on the budget sometime on Friday.
Reid threatens to keep the Senate in session on the weekend, but rarely follows through. However, the threats this week were seen as realistic given his determination to not go into the recess without a budget. House Republicans are set to approve their budget Thursday, and Reid wanted to avoid a scenario where Democrats would be without a budget for a two-week recess.
The Senate government-funding bill, negotiated by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiBipartisan friendship is a civil solution to political dysfunction Dems press for paycheck fairness bill on Equal Pay Day After 30 years celebrating women’s history, have we made enough progress? MORE (D-Md.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), added three full appropriations measures to the House version, but retained the funding levels of the House bill.
While the House’s measure funded Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs programs, the Senate version adds specific appropriations for Agriculture, Homeland Security and the Commerce, Justice and Science funds.
The original House version added $2 billion for embassy security in the wake of last September’s attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and provides $363 million in additional funding for nuclear security and $129 million more for FBI salaries, among other things.
It retains a pay freeze for federal workers and does not provide funding for the healthcare law, two provisions that provoked some grumbling from Democrats.
Several amendments were added to the Senate bill, including measures to prevent cuts to tuition assistance to members of the military and to ensure food inspectors are not furloughed.
In a vote last week, Sen. John McCainJohn McCainTop commander: Don't bet on China reining in North Korea Trudeau, Trump speak for second night about US-Canada trade McCain: China has done ‘nothing’ on North Korea MORE’s (R-Ariz.) amendment to remove a $140 million earmark to Guam was approved after he pointed out that the National Defense Authorization Act passed last year removed that funding.
A list of the other amendments that passed follows:
- Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeTaiwan deserves to participate in United Nations Optimism rising for infrastructure deal Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE's (R-Okla.) amendment 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.
- Inhofe and Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (D-N.C.) amendment would ensure funding for tuition assistance of Armed Service members, which was threatened under sequestration.
- Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnFreedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential MORE’s (R-Okla.) amendment 65 would direct the National Science Foundation to fund research that is in the interest of national security.
- Coburn amendment 70 would require all Department of Homeland Security-related reports issued to the Senate Appropriations Committee also be given to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
- Mikulski and Shelby's amendment to make technical-corrections to the language of the bill.
- Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyLawmakers talk climate for Earth Day, Science March Poll: Sanders most popular senator in the US Senate Dems offer bill to restore internet privacy rules MORE’s (D-Vt.) amendment related to reducing the use of cluster munitions.
- Sen. Roy BluntRoy BluntUnited explains passenger removal to senators Disconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page GOP senator: There will never be full U.S.-Mexico border wall MORE (R-Mo.) and Mark PryorMark PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE's (D-Ark.) amendment would close a funding gap for the Food Safety and Inspection Service and ensure that food inspectors are not furloughed due to the sequestration cuts that went into effect March 1.
- Mikulski and Shelby’s final substitute amendment, making all of the Senate additions to the House bill.
--Erik Wasson contributed to this report.