Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture on the motion to proceed with two fiscal year 2020 bills Oct. 17, opening up the possibility of the Senate voting next week on first a minibus bill full of domestic spending and then following with a second minibus that includes defense.

The first package includes FY ’20 funding for commerce, justice, and space, as well as agriculture, interior, military construction and veterans’ affairs, and transportation and housing and urban development.

Should it garner sufficient bipartisan support and be passed, the Senate will then take up the second package, McConnell said. That minibus would include funding for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, State and Foreign Operations and Energy and Water.

“Our Democratic colleagues insist that despite their political differences with President [Donald] Trump, they’re still prepared to tackle important legislation and do our work for the American people,” McConnell said in a floor speech Thursday as the senators trickled out of the Capitol Building and left Washington, D.C., for the weekend. “Well, next week, they will have an opportunity to prove it.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to move the FY ’20 defense appropriations bill out of committee last month. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee as well as the full committee, told reporters on Thursday on Capitol Hill that he was pessimistic of reaching a bipartisan conference agreement on the defense appropriations bill by Nov. 21, the end of the current continuing resolution.

“I don’t see all of this happening” before Nov. 21, he said.

The House and Senate appropriations leaders are continuing to negotiate and attempt to resolve areas of conflict within their respective bills even as the Senate has yet to pass its defense spending bill, he noted.

Regarding authorization bills, work is ongoing on finalizing a conference bill for the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, several Senate Armed Services Committee members said Thursday.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who chairs the SASC cybersecurity subcommittee, told Defense Daily that “as of yesterday, there was no update” on negotiations with the House.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who chairs the SASC personnel subcommittee, said he had heard from SASC Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) that negotiations were “moving along.”

“I think the delay has more to do with other things going on on the Hill right now than any significant differences in the NDAA,” he said.