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Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline

Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline
© Greg Nash

Senators are poised to punt passage of a must-pass stopgap government funding bill into next week and up against the Wednesday deadline to prevent a shutdown. 

The Senate is scheduled to take a procedural vote related to the continuing resolution (CR) on Thursday, but then leave town for the weekend. GOP senators say passage of the funding bill, which would keep the government open through Dec. 11, would take place either on Tuesday evening or Wednesday. 

"I just heard on the floor a minute ago from the staff that we’re going to come back Tuesday evening and vote on the CR," said Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Incoming Congress looks more like America Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint MORE (R-Ala.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee. 

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Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee MORE (Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP senator, and Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGraham: Trump should attend Biden inauguration 'if' Biden wins The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread This week: Congress races to wrap work for the year MORE (R-Mo.), a second member of leadership, both said that the Senate would return on Tuesday and either hold a final vote on the funding bill on Tuesday or on Wednesday.  

The House passed the CR earlier this week in a 359-57 vote after Democrats rekindled negotiations with Republicans that had temporarily stalled because of a dispute over farm aid. 

The decision comes amid growing tensions in the Senate over the decision by Republicans to try to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgCuomo likens COVID-19 to the Grinch: 'The season of viral transmission' For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty Cardinal Dolan hails Supreme Court decision on churches, COVID-19 MORE's Supreme Court seat in the midst of an election year, with growing support within the GOP caucus for trying to confirm whomever Trump is expected to nominate on Saturday.  

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs MORE (D-N.Y.) invoked the "two-hour rule" earlier this week, limiting the ability for committees to meet after the chamber had been in session for two hours. The move rankled Republicans, and frustrated some Democrats.   

Democrats are mulling their procedural options, arguing that the Senate should not have "business as usual" if Republicans are going to confirm a Supreme Court nominee for President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE after refusing to give Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandThe five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight McConnell pushed Trump to nominate Barrett on the night of Ginsburg's death: report MORE, former President Obama's final Supreme Court nominee, a vote in 2016.  

But Democrats have also shut down talk of using the funding bill as leverage in the Supreme Court fight. 

“Well, none of us has any interest in shutting down government. That — that has such a harmful and painful impact on so many people in our country. So I would hope that we can just proceed with that. There is some enthusiasm among some, exuberance on the left to say let's use that, but we're not going to be shutting down government,” House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (D-Calif.) said.