Senate funding bill slips into next week
© Greg Nash

The Senate's work on a short-term spending bill is slipping into next week.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress Juan Williams: America needs radical solutions MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday got unanimous consent, which requires the agreement of every senator, to set up a first procedural vote at 5:30 p.m. Monday on a House appropriations bill that will be used as a vehicle for the continuing resolution (CR).

The Senate had expected to hold a first vote this week after wrapping up work on a water infrastructure bill.

Top lawmakers hedged when pressed about the timing of a deal, noting they had hoped to announce something this week. 

"I don't know if we'll have [an agreement] by Friday, but listen: I think we could be on our way by Monday," Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiBottom Line Listen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi to reclaim Speakership amid shutdown MORE (D-Md.) told reporters. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Texas) said that the text of the deal would be released before the initial vote.

Lawmakers are struggling to iron out a handful of contentious policy fights, including funding for Planned Parenthood.

Democrats have pledged to block any spending measure that includes restrictions on funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico as part of the funding package to combat the spread of the Zika virus.

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William Nelson2020 party politics in Puerto Rico There is no winning without Latinos as part of your coalition Dem 2020 candidates court Puerto Rico as long nomination contest looms MORE (D-Fla.) expressed optimism that they were close to a deal that would provide $1.1 billion to fight the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause birth defects in the newborns of pregnant women who contract the disease.

"I think that [Republicans] realize that they've got to get rid of political riders on that," he said. "I think that is ... going in that direction, with McConnell behind it."

Cornyn and Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThunePolls: Hiking estate tax less popular than taxing mega wealth, income Will Trump sign the border deal? Here's what we know Key GOP senator pitches Trump: Funding deal a 'down payment' on wall MORE (R-S.D.) also noted that Republican Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzEl Chapo's lawyer fires back at Cruz: 'Ludicrous' to suggest drug lord will pay for wall Democrats have a chance of beating Trump with Julian Castro on the 2020 ticket Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again MORE's push to block the transfer of management of the internet to an international body is still part of the negotiations, but nothing has been resolved.

Thune said he believes leadership will reach a deal this weekend — one that would include at least a delay of the internet authority transfer, which is slated to occur Oct. 1. 

If that happens, he believes the Senate could still leave by mid-next week.

"If things come together over the weekend, and I hope they will, we could wrap this up in the middle of next week," Thune said of the stopgap spending bill.

The Senate's short-term funding bill is expected to last through Dec. 9. The timeline has earned pushback from House conservatives who want to avoid a lame-duck session of Congress.

Lawmakers want to wrap up work on the funding bill next week. The move would allow vulnerable Senate incumbents to get back on the campaign trail, as Republicans defend 24 seats this cycle to Democrats' 10.

Cornyn, noting the Senate will be in session next week, said "any thought of adjourning early was irrational exuberance."

— This report was updated at 1:40 p.m.