Senate pushes to Monday vote on $1.1 trillion spending bill

Posted at 10:51 PM, Dec 12, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Senate will vote Monday on the massive government spending package that passed the House, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Barbara Mikulski said late Friday, pushing a fight that dominated Capitol Hill for days into next week.

Members from both parties in the Senate are trying to make last-minute changes to the bill.

Two votes are expected Monday: a procedural vote to overcome the filibuster and end debate on the bill, and a second one on the final passage.

The Senate was facing a Saturday deadline to approve the $1.1 trillion spending bill that would avert a government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a procedural move Friday evening that would set up a vote on final passage in the Senate no later than Monday.

The Senate is expected to approve either by voice vote on unanimous consent a five-day continuing resolution to keep the government operating until the bill is completed.

Stopgap bill

Earlier Friday, the House approved a five-day stopgap bill to make sure the government was continually funded.

The chamber has been sifting through many of the same arguments that tied up the House on Thursday, when disagreements over immigration, and provisions related to Wall Street and campaign finance nearly derailed the bill. Senate lawmakers wanted votes on amendments that would address those issues.

‘Using every tool available’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, filed an amendment that would strip a provision that softens financial regulations on banks from the spending bill.

“Congress should not put taxpayers on the hook for another bailout, and this giveaway that was drafted by Citigroup lobbyists has not place in a critical government funding bill,” Warren said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a chief critic of President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, also said he wanted a vote to block those actions.

“I think it is critical that the Senate have the opportunity to have a clear up or down vote on finding President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty,” he told reporters. “I am using every tool available to help bring about that vote.”

But by making the procedural move, Reid prevented these amendments from being considered. Amendment votes could have been risky because if either measure passed, the spending bill would have to go back to the House to be voted on again. While the House is technically in session, most members have left Washington until the new Congress convenes in early January.

A day after his administration scrambled to save the bill after it appeared it might be defeated in the Senate, the President said he was pulling for it in the Senate.

“I’m glad it passed the House and am hopeful that it will pass the Senate,” he said.