Endgame Coming Into Focus

Posted September 27, 2008 at 2:20pm

The Senate on Saturday approved, 78-12, a continuing resolution funding the government into next year, perhaps eliminating the need for a lame-duck session in November and clearing the way to deal with a variety of other issues including a massive financial-sector bailout. The House earlier this week approved the CR, which funds government programs until March 6, on a 370-58 vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said there would be at least one vote in the Senate on Monday, but on Saturday afternoon he was holding out hope that the Senate would not be in session Sunday. Reid said earlier Saturday that there should be an outline of a deal on the financial bailout by 6 p.m. Sunday, before the Asian financial markets open. But the first votes on the bailout — whether in the House or Senate — are not expected before Monday. The Senate is expected to come in Monday to vote on a procedural motion on the defense authorization bill, unless Reid is able to reach an agreement with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would waive debate time on that bill. Reid said the Senate would observe Rosh Hashanah and would not have votes Monday evening or Tuesday. He expressed hope that the defense measure could be dispensed with Monday morning or early that afternoon. With the continuing resolution out of the way, the Senate is unlikely to come back for a lame-duck session after the elections. But Reid listed other priorities that he hopes to get through Monday, including an Amtrak bill and a nuclear agreement with India. “There are things we have to do before we leave here, and of course I haven’t mentioned the big one, which is the financial rescue plan,” Reid said. The House is gearing up for its first round of floor votes today at 4 p.m. Lawmakers have spent the day running through 45 bills on suspension.