Cruz internet, other policy fights hold up government-funding deal

Cruz internet, other policy fights hold up government-funding deal
© Greg Nash

The Senate has delayed an initial vote on a government-funding bill, in part because of demands from Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFormer Trump adviser Jason Miller to join reelection campaign Texas Republicans call on county GOP chair to resign for saying Floyd's death was staged Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony MORE (R-Texas) to add language preventing the Obama administration from relinquishing a U.S. role in overseeing the internet.

The vote was scheduled for Monday evening, but senators agreed by unanimous consent to delay the vote until Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.

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It’s the second time the Senate has delayed the vote, which was originally scheduled for last week.

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA, SpaceX and the private-public partnership that caused the flight of the Crew Dragon Lobbying world The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (D-Fla.) told reporters Monday that while an agreement hadn't been locked down, Republicans had agreed to language that would fund efforts to fight the Zika virus without preventing money from being used by clinics in Puerto Rico operated by Planned Parenthood.

Nelson said under the tentative deal, the $1.1 billion for Zika would be partially offset in exchange for allowing Planned Parenthood clinics to have access to a block grant. 

“They've eliminated the political riders,” Nelson said. “The hold up now is Ted Cruz and this ICANN thing.”

ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The administration at the end of this month wants to cease its oversight of web site addresses and give that role to ICANN. Cruz argues this would hand over U.S. control of the internet to an international body.

Still, Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Washington prepares for a summer without interns GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Mo.) said talk that the Zika fight had been decided was "premature."

"We're trying to work this out," he said. "It's just, none of it's going to be done until it's all done."

Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMurkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump Cortez Masto says she's not interested in being Biden VP Nevada congressman admits to affair after relationship divulged on podcast MORE (D-Nev.) and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP chairmen stake out turf in Obama-era probes Cornyn presses DOJ to release results of investigation into Larry Nassar probe Minority caucuses call for quick action on police reform MORE (Texas), the Senate's No. 2 Republican, stressed that a myriad of policy fights still needed to be worked out and that nothing is finalized. 

The delay comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: US Park Police say 'tear gas' statements were 'mistake' | Trump to reopen area off New England coast for fishing | Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump juggles three crises ahead of November election Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues in battle to save seats MORE (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of holding up the measure.

“Senate Republicans stand ready to move forward with this important agreement now,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “I would encourage our colleagues across the aisle to work with us to complete the negotiations so we can advance this important measure."

Senators have been negotiating for weeks over how to fund the government and avoid a shutdown ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline.

While one Senate Democratic aide said the chances of getting an official announcement on Monday was “50/50 at best,” a Senate Republican aide was even more pessimistic about its chances.

“There’s still some fleeting hope, but there’s just no time. We’ve been told to plan on being here next week,” the aide said.

The Senate's spending bill is expected to fund the government through Dec. 9, potentially allowing members to leave Washington this week until after the general elections.

- This story was updated at 5:43 p.m.