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Senate Slogs Toward the Finish Line

The Senate worked through scores of amendments Thursday night as leaders of both parties struggled to cut deals that would allow them to wrap up work on the $3.5 trillion budget resolution.The daylong voting marathon clearly took a toll on Senators and staff. Many who came to the Senate chamber before noon on Thursday hadn’t ventured far away as the clock ticked past 10 p.m.Several of the more tech-savvy Senators used their Twitter accounts to vent a little frustration.“Watch CSPAN. Once a year we hv 24hr vote-a-rama’ on Budget. See how ridiculous the process is,— Senate Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) tweeted Thursday evening.With the count of pending amendments standing at 30, Senators were informed they could be in the chamber deep into night if deals were not cut.“This is brutal. They are saying possibly 30 more votes=10 hours. Yikes,— Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tweeted followers.“One of the things I hope we learn from this is, to never do this again. That would be my strong recommendation,— Conrad quipped Thursday night.With the start of the two-week spring recess set for Friday — and the strong desire of Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to return to his flood-ravaged home state Friday afternoon — Senators were feverishly working out deals to clear as many amendments without votes as possible.Aides said that with most of the difficult provisions dealt with, they said the bill could be cleared by midnight Thursday.

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