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Senate’s Turn on Supplemental

The Senate will now have its turn to vote on the emergency war spending bill. And, according to a Democratic aide, that could take the entire week leading up to the Memorial Day recess.

It’s unclear exactly how Senators will react to the surprise House defeat last Thursday of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The measure went down thanks to House Republicans who voted “present” to protest the fact that the bill went straight to the floor instead of through the committee process.

At the same time, Senators were marking up the war spending measure in the Appropriations Committee, adding more than $10 billion in domestic programs above the House spending levels. But that spending is unlikely to secure the 60 votes needed to get cloture.

The Senate will then be faced with whether to accept the House measure, which sets a troop withdrawal time frame as well as provides $52 billion in benefits for returning veterans and some domestic projects.

But it’s unlikely that Senate Republicans will support a tax on millionaire couples created by the House Democratic leadership in order to garner the backing of Blue Dog Democrats, who refused to endorse the bill without the GI entitlement being paid for.

Senators will have to make up their minds about whether to maintain the GI provisions as authored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.).

Also, depending on House action, the Senate could take up the budget resolution this week, possibly voting on the budget by May 23. Last Thursday, the Senate assigned budget conferees.

What the Senate is most likely not to advance is the controversial collective bargaining bill, which threw the chamber to an utter halt Wednesday morning, after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) attached a GI amendment to the labor bill that rivaled a Democratic plan, forcing Reid to invoke a quorum call and shutting down the chamber to negotiate with his Republican counterparts.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley sent out a press release late Thursday evening, blaming Republicans for their opposition to the labor bill and suggesting that they had killed it.

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