With just 10 days before the government runs out of money, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., warned his fellow senators about the possibility of long nights and working into the weekends - including a holiday break -- as they scramble to finalize a stopgap deal to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.
Reid, speaking this morning on the Senate floor, said he thinks Democrats and Republicans are "getting close" to agreeing on a list of amendment to consider as part of the House-passed continuing resolution, which would fund the government through September. But he said both sides have had "trouble getting both sides to agree on a finite list of amendments," and that he'd hold a cloture vote tonight if no agreement is reached before then.
He said he wanted to expedite this vote not just because "there is a great deal of work to do on either side of the aisle" before the government runs out of money on March 27, but also because 50 hours of debate is required on the budget resolution.
"The more time we spend on this continuing resolution the less time we'll have to vote on amendments for the budget resolution," Reid said this morning. "This is going to be a very full week. Senators should expect some work into the night, and late votes."
Democrats and Republicans are currently working on separate budget proposals for the 2014 fiscal year, and they hope to work out a compromise that enables them to pass a comprehensive, Congress-negotiated, full-year budget for the first time in years. But all parties that any deal - if possible - will require intense and contentious negotiations. The continuing resolution, which observers had expected to pass the Senate last week, is already eating into that time.
"We'll stay as long as it takes to complete work on both the continuing resolution and the budget resolution, even if that means working on the weekend and into the Easter/Passover recess," he said.