Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a motion Monday to shut down debate on the $140 billion extenders package, suggesting the Nevada Democrat has rallied enough votes to move on the legislation that has languished for weeks.
The Senate likely will vote on the motion to end debate Wednesday, teeing up a final passage vote by the end of the week if Reid can hold together 60 Members to support the bill.
Reid filed the cloture motion just hours after rejecting a GOP alternative to the bill that he said doesnt solve the problems of longer-term funding for unemployment insurance, state assistance for Medicaid and Medicare payouts to doctors. The Democratic measure extends funding for unemployment benefits until November and Medicaid funding for an additional year.
We have to have a legitimate program to extend these benefits into the future, said Reid, who denied Minority Leader Mitch McConnells (R-Ky.) request to move a 30-day extension authored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Thirty days doesnt do it. It just kicks the ball down the road.
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.