The Senate will pass a short-term spending measure, keeping the government funded through midnight March 10, while it struggles to reach a compromise on a $410 billion omnibus spending bill. The stop-gap bill will keep agencies funded through midnight March 10.
The omnibus would provide funding for all but three agencies that have been operating under a continuing resolution since Oct. 1. That continuing resolution expires Friday.
Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments did have their appropriations bills passed in time.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is one vote short of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture, ending debate and setting up a final vote. He said he will allow Republicans chances to change the bill on Monday, hoping to lure a crossover vote or two.
Republicans — and even some Democrats such as Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., — have criticized the spending omnibus as being riddled with earmarks and wasteful spending. Democrats haven’t been helped by the fact that the $410 billion bill comes just weeks after Congress approved a $787 billion economic stimulus package.
The spending omnibus, HR 1105, contains 8 percent more funding for federal agencies than President George W. Bush’s budget recommendations. Reid has said the increase is merely to adjust numbers for inflation, an argument that hasn’t swayed Republicans.