The Senate was unable to pass the FY’09 Omnibus bill last night and now plans to approve a short-term continuing resolution (CR) sometime today. The current CR expires midnight tonight (March 6). The new CR is expected to run through midnight Tuesday, by which time Democratic leaders hope to clear the nine-bill, $410 billion spending package. Republican leaders say they are trying to whittle down their amendments to 10 or 12, and Reid said votes on amendments are expected to resume Monday evening. A series of Republican amendments this week to cut the bill’s spending and eliminate or reduce earmarks were all rejected, and Republicans are now focusing on policy amendments intended to force Democrats to take politically difficult votes.
Meanwhile, House Leadership on Thursday reiterated that the House would not accept any amendments from the Senate. No amendments have yet been approved in the Senate, and Senate Democrats have been vigorously opposing all amendments. House Leadership also vowed to work with President Obama to examine and improve the congressional earmarking process.