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Reid Ends Marathon Session, Announces Schedule for Budget, Defense Bills (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:33 p.m. | One all-nighter was not enough, but two will suffice.

The Senate’s leaders have reached an agreement that will bring to an end days of round-the-clock sessions following a series of noon votes.

“This schedule’s been extremely difficult for everyone,” Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in announcing the deal, which essentially allows votes that would have taken place late Friday and Saturday to instead occur at the usual hour of 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

Reid said he spoke with his counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to come up with the path forward.

“On Tuesday, we’ll begin consideration of the budget. On Wednesday, the defense bill. After that, we’ll address further nominations … the most important one is Janet Yellen to be on the Federal Reserve,” Reid said. “The others, I will work with Sen. McConnell. We’ll file on a number of them, see how many we can get done.”

The Senate’s next session will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, but it should be a sparsely attended because Reid has announced there will be no votes.

“There’s a lot of work we have to do to get back to regular order. We’ll see what happens with the defense bill that we’re going to vote on and the budget bill, but I’m satisfied that we’ve made progress,” the Nevada Democrat said.

The chamber’s been in session continuously since 2 p.m. Wednesday, burning time off and working through a series of contested nominations to executive and judicial posts. By the time the chamber gavels out on Friday, following the noon vote sequence, it could reach 48 hours of continuous session.

At the end of the sequence, 11 of President Barack Obama’s nominees will have been confirmed, counting new D.C. Circuit Judge Nina Pillard.

Had an agreement not been reached, the Senate would have been in session well into the night Saturday to confirm Jeh Johnson to be secretary of Homeland Security. Instead, the votes on limiting debate and confirming Johnson will take place Monday, following confirmation of Anne W. Patterson to be an assistant Secretary of State.

Update 3:33 p.m.

The Senate adjourned around 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Reid is expected to file motions to limit debate on both the budget agreement and the defense authorization agreement during Sunday’s session, according to his office.

That’ll get the measures in the queue for floor consideration starting Tuesday. Since the House sent both items back to the Senate as messages (the House offered amendments to measures already passed by both chambers in different forms), the measures require one cloture vote each to overcome objections.

There is no need for a “motion to proceed” to either of these measures at this point.

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