Congress has yet to agree on a finalized continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government past Sept. 30, due to key issues that have the Freedom Caucus, Republican leadership and Democrats at odds.
“While negotiations are on-going, I want to thank colleagues on both sides for their cooperation in voting to proceed to the bill that will be used as a shell for the CR/Zika legislation,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor of the Senate Wednesday. “This will allow us to start work so that when we have an agreement, we’ll be able to review and debate it. We all know how important these funds are for combating Zika and supporting our veterans. So let’s continue to work quickly so that we can eventually pass an agreement as soon as possible.”
Senate Republicans agreed to remove the language that would have cut funding for Planned Parenthood, but there is an internal struggle among lawmakers. Republicans want to add funding for Louisiana flood victims into the language of the law, and Democrats won’t allow that addition unless funding for those affected by the water crisis in Flint, Mich., is added as well.
“Louisiana is not resolved because [Republicans] want to do Louisiana, we want to do Flint,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told Politico. “They don’t want to do Flint.”
The CR vote was initially scheduled for Monday evening, but negotiators struggled to reach a consensus on policy riders pertaining to the Internet, Flint funding and language reauthorizing the Export-Import bank.
With just 10 days to go before the 2016 fiscal year comes to a close, the Senate cleared its first hurdle Tuesday in passing a short-term spending measure to keep the government funded until Dec. 9.
McConnell delayed the Senate Recess in light of the CR vote, as well as a veto override of the 9/11 bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government.
Juliegrace Brufke contributed to the report.
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