Senate to push funding bill vote up against shutdown deadline
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 Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP senator, and Sen. Roy Blunt (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 Ginsburg’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 Schumer (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 Trump after refusing to give Merrick Garland, 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 Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.
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