After an all-night session, the Senate has a glide path for wrapping up work on the continuing resolution no later than Saturday.
The Senate quickly adopted the motion to proceed to the spending bill by voice vote (after limiting debate 100-0 earlier in the day). The move allowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to move to limit debate on the underlying CR, setting up the key test vote with a 60-vote threshold for Friday — or earlier by unanimous consent.
That's the vote that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said his fellow Republicans should vote against to deny Reid the chance to use a simple majority vote to amend the measure to eliminate the House language defunding Obamacare.
If Reid and Senate Democrats prevail, there will no more than 30 hours of additional debate, meaning senators could pass the stopgap spending bill no later than Saturday. Reid expressed hope that the process could be sped up even further.
Following a brief appearance at a House Democratic caucus meeting, the Nevada Democrat had signaled he would come to the Senate floor before night's end, with the hopes of making a request that could speed up the debate time on the House-passed continuing resolution, a move that could get the measure back to the House for consideration as early as Friday night.
"It'll be one of my great extemporaneous presentations," Reid said, adding that his remarks would be "a little shorter" than the roughly 21-hour presentation by Cruz and like-minded colleagues.
"I've been trying, as you know, to compress the time," said Reid, without getting too far into specifics, noting "Friday would be my goal, but I don't think I can get it done unless they give back a ton of time."