Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that they would try to work out a Thursday vote on a House measure that would extend unemployment insurance, a move that would signal the end of the weeks lame-duck session.
Reid filed for cloture Wednesday evening on a bill that would extend unemployment insurance benefits after he failed to get unanimous consent for an economic stimulus package that included infrastructure funding, state aid for Medicaid, and a loan for the ailing automotive industry.
Republicans objected to all three bills.
The cloture petition guarantees there will be a vote on unemployment benefits by Friday, but Reid and McConnell are hoping to move that vote up by a day, and they said they would go back to their colleagues to work out an agreement that would allow a Thursday vote.
If the Senate succeeds, there is no reason for the House to come back to town because it has already passed the measure.
One Democratic leadership aide said a Thursday vote is very likely now that Reid is pushing only for the unemployment insurance, which has significant Republican support.
They want to leave. A vote could happen as early as Thursday, the aide said.
Reid tried all week to persuade Republicans to give the Big Three American auto-makers a $25 billion loan, but ran up against stiff opposition from President George Bush and GOP Senators.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.