No Senate Vote Today on Auto Bill

Posted December 10, 2008 at 10:14am

The Senate will not vote Wednesday on an automaker bailout bill as Democrats had hoped, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor.

Reid acknowledged that Senate Republicans, whose support has been soft to nonexistent for an auto package, need time to review the measure after legislative language has been finalized. He said he hoped he would be able to give his GOP colleagues a copy of the measure within the hour.

“Of course we are not going to agree to expedite a procedure to a bill we haven’t read,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who noted that he hoped to have a draft this morning so Republicans could discuss it at their regular policy luncheon today.

Reid said that he will set up a process by which the Senate can vote on a motion to proceed to the bill by Friday morning and that he would force more votes Saturday and Sunday if Republicans attempt to filibuster.

“If everybody is not cooperative and wants to create problems here, we wouldn’t be able to complete this until Saturday or Sunday,” Reid said. “And when I say, ‘complete it,’ that means we’re going to have a final vote on it. It will either pass or fail, but we are going to give the Senators an opportunity to vote on this.”

The Friday vote will likely need 60 votes to prevail because several GOP Senators have indicated their intent to filibuster the package. If the measure does not overcome that first hurdle, it’s unlikely further votes would be taken unless it was modified.

Reid also indicated that the Senate might move a bill that is slightly different from what the House is expected to vote on today. He said he had instructed Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to remove two provisions from the draft that the White House agreed to Tuesday night. It was not immediately clear what provisions those were.