From left: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. John Barrasso and Sen. Jeff Sessions make their way across the Capitol. McConnell and other GOP Senate leaders signaled last week that they support higher spending caps.
The aide also suggested that the vote could have been influenced by election-year politics, with Republicans trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s government shutdown standoff, when a disagreement over funding the government led to a series of short-term spending extensions and much heated rhetoric.
“We view the vote as a major step forward toward averting a government shutdown,” the aide said. “I would not be surprised if Republicans coordinated with the Romney campaign in an effort to avert a shutdown before the election.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, said he was not surprised by the GOP vote because he said Republicans did not want a repeat last of summer’s debt fight. “They looked silly,” Leahy said.