Final Vote on Continuing Resolution Still Pending in the Senate
As the hours tick away on Friday afternoon, the Senate looks to move towards a final vote on the Continuing Resolution (H.J. 117) by 1am on Sunday morning at the latest. Thus far, the six-month stop gap measure had been held up by two separate pieces of legislation.
As reported yesterday, one piece pertains to cutting aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt, while the other, sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), is a sportsmen’s package (S. 3525) that would combine multiple proposals to loosen various rules involving indoor sports and hunting. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told Senators a CR vote will occur after consideration of Tester’s bill.
No changes to the House passed CR are expected in the Senate. The measure would increase spending for most programs and agencies by 0.6 percent, reflecting the $1.047 trillion cap on discretionary spending set in last year’s debt limit deal.
Yesterday on the Senate floor, top appropriators voiced their frustration with the bill and the continued political divide in Congress.
Appropriation’s Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) stated his support of the measure but claimed “it is far from perfect…In fact, I would say that it is not a particularly good bill, but passing it is much better than allowing the government to shut down over a lack of funding…it is indeed unfortunate that it has come to this.”
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), ranking member on the Appropriations committee, called the CR a “lost opportunity.” He stressed frustration over the future legislative battle after the elections, “none of my colleagues likely relish the prospect of voting in March, up or down, on either a trillion-dollar omnibus bill or a trillion-dollar full-year CR. Yet, that is where we are headed if we continue to do nothing.”
Though it has been reported in the news that a small group of Senators have been in meetings to discuss various proposals for replacing the sequester, there looks to be no proposals to do so in the CR.