Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Senate Leaders Lock on Bipartisan Momentum

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Sen. Jerry Moran says he believes that most of his Senate colleagues want to have debate and offer amendments on several appropriations bills.

The aide suggested that Republicans only opposed the bills because Obama supports them and they want to deny him a political victory as part of their effort to defeat him in the 2012 election.

The Senate is poised to pass legislation today that would repeal a law requiring federal, state and local governments to withhold 3 percent of nearly all contract payments beginning in 2013.

The bill is also expected to be a vehicle for an amendment that would provide tax incentives for hiring unemployed veterans.

The GOP-led House has passed similar legislation this year, and House and Senate Republicans have been coordinating their message, calling on Senate Democrats to pass a series of other House-passed measures.

“The Democratic majority finally agreed to join us in making some progress in the nearly two dozen bipartisan jobs bills the House has already passed,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “And I want to urge them to keep pressing ahead with jobs bills that both parties actually support.”

The appropriations package will be the second minibus considered by the Senate. Earlier this month, the chamber passed a package that included the Commerce, Justice and science appropriations bill; the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill; and the Agriculture, rural development, and Food and Drug Administration appropriations bill.

A conference committee is working out differences between the House and Senate versions of those three bills. A compromise package will likely be on the House and Senate floors as soon as next week, according to Congressional aides.

“I’ve heard the conference is going well,” the Senate Democratic aide said. However, the aide warned that if House Republicans choose to push for unreasonable policy riders, that could “throw a monkey wrench” into the appropriations process.

A House GOP aide said that several issues are still being negotiated, including policy riders.

The compromise package is also expected to carry a continuing resolution that would likely keep the government funded through the week of Dec. 12, but no firm decisions have been made, aides said. Congress has until Nov. 18, when the current CR expires, to act on the next stopgap spending measure.

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