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.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.