The Senate will move to a package of three spending bills after it finishes consideration of three trade bills, buying the chamber some time to mull what piece of the president's nearly $450 billion jobs bills to consider in the near future.
"We are going finish the work on the trade bills today, tomorrow ... we are going to be able to move to the appropriations bills," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said after the Democrats' weekly cacus lunch.
Senate Democrats had been considering taking up a piece of the president's jobs package, which failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance Tuesday night. But it appears they need more time to decide what part of the plan to consider and will likely move to that after clearing three spending bills by the end of next week.
"I have had a number of meetings today, we are working very closely with the White House and my caucus and until we have direction from my caucus, we are not going to be able to make a decision," Reid said.
The "minibus" is slated to include the Commerce, Justice and science; Agriculture, rural development and Food and Drug Administration; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bills.
Reid also said that leaders were working on additional packages of spending bills.
"We are working on other packages," Reid said, but provided no other details.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), after the Senate GOP weekly lunch, said he expects the measure to be open for amendment and that it should pass the Senate.
"We should be able to move those three appropriations bills across the floor," McConnell said. "I expect most Members on both sides are going to be voting for them."
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