As for the outsourcing measure, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) dismissed the vote as a last-ditch attempt by Democrats to save their own jobs.
“The vast majority, if not all of us, see this as sort of a political stunt,” said Kyl, who indicated he did not expect any Republicans to support the measure. Democrats acknowledged a few members of their party might vote against the bill.
House Democrats also are making accommodations for their vulnerable incumbents, with a vote planned this week on their own version of an outsourcing bill — a measure to crack down on China’s alleged manipulation of its currency. Critics of the practice said undervalued yuan help make China attractive to American businesses looking for a cheaper labor market.
“How about this debate: Democrats voting to keep American jobs in America and Republicans fighting against tax cuts for the middle class unless Lindsay Lohan gets more tax breaks,” a House Democratic leadership aide said.
Meanwhile, the outsourcing debate is masking the real ticket both parties need to get out of town — passage of the CR.
Though the House traditionally moves first on appropriations bills, House leaders are deferring to the Senate this time in order to avoid a protracted fight within their own ranks over spending priorities.
The Senate is not to have many — if any — add-ons to its CR, because of expected GOP objections to such moves. Instead, federal agencies are likely to have their funding frozen at fiscal 2010 levels at least until Dec. 3.
Senate Republicans are not expected to put up much of a fight over the CR, as long as Democrats keep the measure relatively “clean.”
If all goes well, Senators could be wheels-up by Wednesday night, followed closely by House Members on Thursday.
John Stanton and David M. Drucker contributed to this report.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.