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 CruzGroup aiming to draft Beto O’Rourke unveils first 2020 video Howard Dean looking for a 'younger, newer' Democratic nominee in 2020 Congress can stop the war on science 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.


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

Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonFlorida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Restoration of voting rights by felons marks shift in Florida 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 BluntMcConnell: Senate won't override Trump veto on shutdown fight Senate immigration talks fall apart Emergency declaration option for wall tests GOP 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 ReidSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees Harry Reid knocks Ocasio-Cortez's tax proposal: Fast 'radical change' doesn't work Overnight Defense: Trump rejects Graham call to end shutdown | Coast Guard on track to miss Tuesday paychecks | Dems eye Trump, Russia probes | Trump talks with Erdogan after making threat to Turkey's economy MORE (D-Nev.) and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s attorney general pick passes first test 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 McConnellDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security Pence quotes MLK in pitch for Trump's immigration proposal 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.