Senate lays groundwork for spending deal
© Greg Nash

Senators are laying the groundwork for a short-term government funding bill as lawmakers work to finish negotiations on a deal.


The Senate voted 89-7 on Tuesday evening to end debate over taking up a House bill that will be used as the vehicle for the continuing resolution, which hasn't been finalized.

The vote succeeded after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFive issues that will define the months until the midterms  Key senators to watch on Democrats' social spending bill Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE (R-Ky.) huddled with the Senate GOP conference to update his members on the status of the talks. 

"We just had another good conversation on this side with our members and are now prepared to proceed to the bill that we used as a shell," he said before the vote.

He urged "a little cooperation from both sides,” and said that negotiators are continuing their work on a deal and "hope to have that completed and available for review very soon."

The vote comes after leadership twice postponed it; lawmakers had hoped to vote last week.

Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiTwo women could lead a powerful Senate spending panel for first time in history Harris invites every female senator to dinner next week Will the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? MORE (D-Md.) said after the vote that "the next 48 hours are crucial" and cautioned that Republicans have "a few poison pill riders" that could deter Democratic support.

Lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to pass the short-term spending bill, which is expected to last through Dec. 9.

Leadership indicated this week that it has resolved a stalemated over funding to fight the Zika virus, which ground the appropriations process to a halt earlier this year. 

However, lawmakers are still resolving myriad policy fights, including an effort by Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGermany calls on Congress not to sanction Nord Stream 2 pipeline: report Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' Biden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress MORE (R-Texas) to link a change in U.S. internet policy to the bill.

Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidVoters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama Mellman: Are independents really so independent? MORE (Nev.) blasted the Texas Republican's effort earlier on Tuesday.

"It's not [time for] a big debate for talking about how we change the internet forever," the outgoing Democratic leader told reporters.

"It's not a time to try to satisfy Cruz because he doesn't get along with the caucus and they're trying to shut him up."

Cruz's wants to include language that would prevent the administration from relinquishing the U.S.'s primary role in internet oversight.