The Senate will vote on the House-passed bill that would extend the continuing resolution through Dec. 20 by the end of this week, multiple lawmakers said Nov. 20.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as its defense subcommittee, told reporters on Capitol Hill that he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hoped to hold a vote for the CR “later” on Wednesday. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the Senate majority whip, also said he hoped a vote would happen Wednesday.
The vote had not been scheduled as of Defense Daily’s deadline Wednesday evening, but sources on the Hill confirmed the vote is expected before the end of the week at the latest. The Senate plans to vote to send the spending bill back to the House on a separate legislative vehicle, vote on an amendment introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and then vote to pass the bill.
The House passed its amendment to H.R. 3055 Tuesday by a vote of 231-192 (Defense Daily, Nov. 19). Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a floor speech Wednesday evening that he urged all upper chamber members to vote to pass the CR.
“I’m disappointed. … I wish we were further along in our work,” he said. “It’s not for lack of trying.”
Leahy added that “it’s no secret” that the main challenge to reaching an agreement for the funding bills is the White House’s desire to use $8.6 billion to build a “vanity wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Shelby said that should the CR be passed by the Senate and re-passed by the House, the chances of a government shutdown going into the new calendar year should be “close to zero, if not zero.”
Shelby added that appropriations subcommittee staffers continue to work on 302(b) allocation negotiations, which determine how each subcommittee’s topline is divided up. “They keep improving – vastly from yesterday,” he said. “We haven’t gotten there yet, but … we’re getting close to the numbers.”