The Senate passed a bill to keep the government funded through the elections, overcoming their last major legislative hurdle Wednesday night before they go to their home states to campaign.
By a 69-30 vote, the Senate passed a continuing resolution intended to keep the government running on fiscal 2010 spending levels through Dec. 3. House leaders hope to clear the measure Wednesday evening. Without the CR, current government funding would end at the beginning of the new fiscal year, which starts Friday.
Prior to passing the CR, Senate Democrats beat back two GOP amendments. One by Sen. John Thune (S.D.) was intended to force a 5 percent spending cut below 2010 levels. It failed, 48-51; 60 votes were needed for adoption.
The other amendment, by Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.), would have extended the CR until Feb. 4, 2011. It also failed, 39-60. DeMint was presumably hoping to prevent Democrats from passing an omnibus spending bill in the expected lame-duck session. With Republicans forecast to make dramatic gains in the midterm Congressional elections Nov. 2, Democrats may have less power next year to pass the kind of appropriations bills they want.
Senate leaders were still trying to pass a number of less controversial measures by unanimous consent, including a package of administration nominees, but it was unclear whether Republicans would agree.