“There is still hope that we could vote on a limited number of amendments and move to final passage of this bill tonight,” Reid said. “Sens. Mikulski and Shelby have worked very hard on this measure, and I am optimistic that we will find a path forward. But one way or another, we will move forward with this bill today.”
As for the budget, the Senate will be locked into 50 hours of floor debate on the resolution regardless of when Reid brings it up. Special rules for budget debates dictate the timing. Once the time expires, senators face an unlimited number of up-or-down votes on amendments to the resolution, leading to a marathon voting session that aides have previously expected to take place Thursday of this week, perhaps lingering into the wee hours of Friday morning. The voting can go on as long as Senators demand votes on their amendments.
Reid did later mention the possibility of unlimited amendments.
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.