Senate Takes CR-ish Step Forward

The Senate inched a little closer to actually passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running after the end of this Federal fiscal year on September 30.  On Tuesday, they invoked cloture — a procedural move that closes off debate and means that the legislation is prepared for a Floor vote of all Senators.  While they have not worked out all of the details for about 20 submitted amendments, invoking cloture signals their good intentions that they do plan to vote on the CR.  Speculation is that the vote probably will take place next week.  In its present form, the CR would cover government spending until December 9th.
Still in play is the potential for funds to be directed toward alleviating the Flint, MI lead issue.  Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow(D) has been pursuing an “any vehicle available” strategy to gain funding for the city.  $220 million in funding was included in the Senate WRDA bill that passed last week but there are no guarantees that the legislation will be enacted before the end of this year.  Thus, Flint funding remains in play as part of the CR.
Meanwhile, the House is working toward being ready when the Senate vehicle comes across the Capitol.  They have their own set of priorities to consider.  The plan has been to use HR 5325, as the legislative vehicle to move toward a CR vote.  However, on Tuesday of this week, Rep. Bill Flores, a noted Republican conservative, introduced a separate CR that mirrors the Senate measure in duration – until December 9 – and includes funding for Zika virus aid.  But the Texas Congressman also includes language that precludes the new internet domain transfer project and calls for vetting of all refugees from Islamic terrorist-dominated nations.  Although the Flores CR has been introduced, there has been no indication from House leadership that the measure will be taken up in its current form or how it will relate to the earlier HR 5325 measure.
There are seven calendar days remaining to get the job done.  Otherwise, we face another government shutdown.