Senate Democrats “are likely to try to pass a short-term spending bill of their own” if negotiators fail to reach a budget deal, Roll Call reports.
Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad said Democrats would offer a short-term spending bill if talks break down, the North Dakota Democrat said after a caucus meeting Thursday afternoon. The bill would include funding for troops for the remainder of the fiscal year, but it would not include policy riders sought by House Republicans.
“There will certainly be an attempt to propose an alternative, including the funding of troops,” Conrad said, without specifying the bill’s length.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that Democrats will offer the measure and seek action on it today, according to Reuters.
The measure will differ from a similar stopgap bill that has passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Reid said at a news conference. Under Senate rules, all 100 Senators must agree to allow the bill to come up for a vote.
According to POLITICO, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) “placed the House-approved bill that funds the government for a week and the Department of Defense for a year on the Senate calendar while closing the floor” last night.
Aides say the procedural maneuver gives Reid extra options in the final [run-up] to the midnight deadline when the government runs out of money. Reid could offer the House-passed measure, which has an anti-abortion rider that applies to the District of Columbia attached, as a side-by-side vote with a clean CR to secure a time agreement from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), an advocate of the House alternative, for example. His comments to reporters Friday morning make this scenario more likely.