By Alexander Bolton - 04/14/11 04:42 PM EDT
Senate leaders expect a bipartisan budget deal reached late last week to easily pass the upper chamber Thursday afternoon.
Democrats are by-and-large happy the spending agreement does not cut the Head Start early education program or slash Pell Grants — although it would eliminate summer Pell Grants.
“We have no reduction in Pell Grants and we kept a lot of our other priorities in there. There will be no reductions in Head Start,” he said, noting that the summer grants would be eliminated, something President Obama proposed in his budget plan.
Some Democrats, including Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), have concerns over the legislation, but the opposition within the Democratic Caucus is not strong.
“It’s not significant,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said when asked about the number of potential defections. “We have a number of senators we’re still talking to.”
A senior Senate GOP aide predicted that five to 10 conservative lawmakers might vote against the deal, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
The aide said the compromise would have more than enough votes to pass.
The House is expected to pass the compromise, which cuts about $38 billion from 2011 spending levels, Wednesday afternoon.
Senate aides expect the House to send the package to the Senate for consideration between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday.