WASHINGTON -- It will be Monday at the earliest before the Senate votes on a $1.1 trillion government funding bill passed by the House on Thursday night.
The Senate will be back in session Saturday to handle other business, including votes on outstanding nominations. A vote is also expected on a short-term funding bill, approved by the House on Friday, which funds the government through Wednesday night, December 17.
At least 60 senators must agree to end debate on the larger spending package and move toward a vote of the full Senate -- a procedure called cloture. A cloture vote will likely take place very early Sunday morning, setting up a final vote Monday.
Democrats object to several items in the bill, although the one raising the biggest outcry is a banking provision that rolls back a Dodd-Frank rule requiring the separation of most derivatives trading from traditional banking.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who will soon be giving up that title, said he wouldn't have added the provision, but added, "I didn't write this bill. The Senate Democrats didn't write this bill alone. It's a compromise. That is what legislation is all about."
Though the timing of the spending bill vote is still not settled, the Senate is wrapping up other business before adjourning for the year. It passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and will vote on several of President Obama's nominees.
Friday afternoon, the president said he's glad the spending bill passed the House Thursday night, and he hoped it would pass the Senate, although "there are a bunch of provisions in this bill that I really don't like."
The bill is, after all, "what's produced when we have the divided government that the American people voted for," Mr. Obama said, in comments before a meeting on the government's Ebola response.
There are still things he likes, however. The bill also provides some stability in funding over the next year for items important to the president -- Obamacare, efforts to confront climate change, expansion of early childhood education, and the battle against ISIS.