Senate to Vote on Competing CRs

Posted March 4, 2011 at 9:57am

The Senate will vote next week on competing Republican and Democratic spending plans for the rest of the year, aides said.

A meeting with Congressional leaders and Vice President Joseph Biden on Thursday ended without a breakthrough, with the two sides about $50 billion apart.

The vote, like an earlier vote on health care repeal, is expected to show that cuts on the scale Republicans are demanding cannot get through the Senate. But it remains unclear what the next move would be to avoid a government shutdown in two weeks. If no deal is reached, Republicans have suggested they might pass another short-term bill with additional cuts.

Also unclear is how open the process might be on the Senate floor. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to have a more open amendment process this year, but a wide-open floor debate could risk having a handful of Democrats peeling off for smaller chunks of cuts than the $61 billion that passed the House.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) already delivered on a wide-open floor debate, with hundreds of amendments considered on the continuing resolution.