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.

{mosads}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 McConnell (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 Mikulski (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 Cruz (R-Texas) to link a change in U.S. internet policy to the bill.

GOP Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.), David Perdue (Ga.) Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Cruz voted against moving forward. 

Minority Leader Harry Reid (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.

Tags Barbara Mikulski Dean Heller Harry Reid Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Rand Paul Ted Cruz

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