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 McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary 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 MikulskiForeign policy congressional committees need to call more women experts Lobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates 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 CruzOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent Trump's NATO ambassador pledges 'seamless' transition to Biden administration Potential 2024 Republicans flock to Georgia amid Senate runoffs MORE (R-Texas) to link a change in U.S. internet policy to the bill.

Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line 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.