Reid Expects Senate to Pass Stopgap

Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:42pm

Updated: 6:56 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he expects his chamber to clear a two-week continuing resolution that the House passed that afternoon. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the measure at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The Nevada Democrat and his Republican counterpart in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), both signaled that their respective conferences would accept the package, which includes $4 billion in spending cuts. President Barack Obama must sign the legislation by Friday to avert a government shutdown.

“I think we’ll have a vote on that in the next 48 hours,” Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “We’ll pass this, and then we’ll look to funding the government on a long-term basis.” The Wednesday morning vote was announced Tuesday evening.

McConnell said during an afternoon news conference that the two-week CR is “the first time since I’ve been here that I can recall cutting anything of any consequence, and I hope that’s the beginning of a trend.”

Reid said Obama is set to become more involved in the negotiations with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate leaders to reach a deal on a longer-term CR to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011, which ends Sept. 30. The Senate Majority Leader acknowledged that he would have preferred a four-week CR to allow more breathing room to negotiate the longer-term spending bill.

“We’re going to work with [the Republicans.] I’m anxious to meet with McConnell and Boehner and anyone from the White House,” Reid said. “In the meantime, we need to work our way through this. But the sooner we get this short-term funding of the government done, the quicker we can move to a long-term CR.”