Spending bills will top Senate agenda, likely through weekend

The Senate is on course to spend the weekend working through an omnibus appropriations bill and will return to the health debate next week as Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tries to get to a vote before Christmas.

The House will deal with an amended fiscal 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that will be used as one of two "minibus" spending bills before leaving for the holidays on Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

The Senate's focus on appropriations comes during a lull in action on health care as Democrats await CBO numbers on provisions that will replace the public option. The Senate has not voted on an amendment since Tuesday and new votes may not occur until next week.

Weekend consideration of the omnibus spending bill will allow a floor vote early next week. The weekend work is necessary because Republicans refused to agree to waive procedural steps that would have automatically allowed the bill to come up next week.

The Senate is expected to resume voting on healthcare overhaul amendments next week, including a vote on a closely watched measure to allow reimportation of drugs from Canada, which backers said has the votes to pass. Many other amendments are pending.

But the Senate likely will have to move off health care again before next Friday, when a continuing resolution funding federal programs expires. The Senate could vote on the minibus that the House will vote on, but appears more likely to take up another short-term continuing resolution that will extend funding of federal programs for a matter of weeks.

Reid said on Thursday he hopes to pass the Defense spending bill by the end of the year.

Pelosi said the Defense bill will include an increase in the statutory debt ceiling and a package of job-creation provisions. The jobs package is likely to include an extension of unemployment benefits, changes in food stamp benefits and a health insurance program for those who lose their jobs, tax breaks for small businesses and possibly money that state and local governments could use to help avoid laying off public employees. She added that an infrastructure component might be added.

Pelosi did not have details of costs or a figure for the new debt ceiling. The House has already acted to increase the ceiling from $12.1 trillion to $13 trillion. But the Senate is contemplating a higher ceiling.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, complained that Democrats "have made a habit of taking the defense appropriations bills -- bills that fund the support of our troops -- and adding on there the most distasteful things they can think of, trying to get them passed on the backs of our soldiers."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.