Senate delays spending bill vote
© Greg Nash

The Senate kicked the can on a vote tied to a short-term government funding bill Tuesday for the second time in as many days. 

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A procedural vote on a House-passed bill that will carry the continuing resolution (CR) was scheduled for 2:15 p.m. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw MORE (R-Ky.) announced minutes before then that it was being pushed to 5:15 p.m.

Lawmakers are engaged in myriad policy fights tied the spending bill, which is expected run through Dec. 9.

Senators have been negotiating for weeks over how to fund the government and avoid a shutdown on Oct. 1, when the fiscal year ends.

"We are still in discussions on the CR. I think we are close to finalizing an agreement that we can go to the floor on," McConnell told reporters Tuesday during his weekly press conference.

He noted they wouldn't move forward with the initial procedural vote until they had clinched a deal.

Senate GOP leaders say they are waiting on a response from Democrats about their most recent proposal on Tuesday.

"We made an offer to the Democrats earlier today on a whole range of issues and I think [we're] waiting on feedback from them," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGoogle says it continues to allow apps to access Gmail user data Fight looms over national privacy law Want to improve health care? Get Americans off of their couches MORE (R-S.D.) told reporters. "The differences, I think, are narrowing."

Senators have been bogged down in slow-moving talks over the funding measure for weeks.

GOP leaders and aides say they have already resolved one of the longest-standing issues: how to fund a response to the Zika virus. Republicans have tentatively agreed to eliminate divisive language that would have blocked new funding from going to a Planned Parenthood partner in Puerto Rico.

One of the biggest remaining sticking points for Democrats is over emergency funding for the water crisis in Flint, Mich., according to several lawmakers.  


Some Republicans have said they would back that request in exchange for additional funding to help Louisiana with its flood response.

Also in the mix is a GOP provision, championed by Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump changes mean only wealthy immigrants may apply, says critic The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Viral video shows O’Rourke air-drumming to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ after Cruz debate MORE (Texas), that would halt a move by President Obama to transfer power over internet domain names from the U.S. to an international authority.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinAmnesty International calls to halt Kavanaugh nomination Fox's Chris Wallace: All 10 Democratic Senate Judiciary members again declined interview invitations Durbin: ‘No reason’ for people to remember Kavanaugh at party accuser describes MORE (D-Ill.) told reporters that Democrats had made a "simple offer" to Republicans of passing a bill with no amendments.

The Senate had hoped to wrap up its work and return to the campaign trail this week, but McConnell opened the door the Senate being in town next week.

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyWant to improve health care? Get Americans off of their couches Situation in Yemen should lead us to return to a constitutional foreign policy Overnight Defense: Biden honors McCain at Phoenix memorial service | US considers sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo and Iraq | Senators press Trump on ending Yemen civil war MORE (D-Conn.), said Democrats expressed "guarded optimism" about reaching a deal this week during their closed-door luncheon on Tuesday.

"I don’t think anybody is pumping the brakes right now," he said. "The bigger issue is riders and trying to trim down the riders to size."

—Sarah Ferris contributed; last updated at 4:02 p.m.