Reid reaches deal to put disaster relief on path to Senate passage

Senate Republicans have relented from their objections and agreed to allow the upper chamber to vote on a $7 billion bill giving assistance to states hit hard by floods and fires.
 
The Senate is expected to vote around 4 p.m. Thursday on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) disaster-relief package.
 

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To pave the way for a vote, Reid agreed to schedule votes on amendments sponsored by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to offset the bill’s cost.
 
Coburn’s amendment would cut $7 billion in general spending by consolidating duplicative and overlapping government programs.
 
Paul’s amendment would rescind funds from foreign assistance programs.
 
Reid’s package, as well as the Coburn and Paul amendments, needs 60 votes to pass.

The Coburn and Paul measures are expected to fail; Reid's is assured of reaching the 60-vote threshold set for final Senate passage.
 
The agreement clears a major hurdle to avoiding a weekend session of votes. Reid and Republicans, however, must still reach agreement on short-term extensions of the highway and Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bills.
 
“I hope you don’t have weekend plans,” a Senate aide said.