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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 CruzDemocrats slide in battle for Senate O'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue 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 NelsonDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Election Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B 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 BluntGOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters Congress moves to ensure the greater availability of explosives detecting dogs in the US McConnell sets key Kavanaugh vote for Friday 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 ReidFive takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Major overhauls needed to ensure a violent revolution remains fictional Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees MORE (D-Nev.) and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown 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 McConnellDemocrats slide in battle for Senate McConnell and wife confronted by customers at restaurant Pelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care 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.