This morning the Senate resumed consideration of the Mikulski-Shelby substitute amendment #26 to H.R.933, Continuing Appropriations, post-cloture. If all time is used, the 30 hours of post-cloture debate time on the substitute would expire at 12:48am on Wednesday, March 20. At that time, the question would be on the substitute amendment. We could either agree to the substitute by consent or have a roll call vote. Upon disposition of the substitute, the Senate would immediately proceed to a cloture vote on the underlying bill. If cloture is invoked on the underlying bill, there would be an additional 30 hours of post-cloture debate prior to disposition of the bill. We hope to reach an agreement to deal with these late night/early morning votes at a more reasonable time. I suspect senators may discuss such matters at the caucus meetings today.
We also hope to reach an agreement to begin consideration of S.Con.Res.8, An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2014, revising the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal year 2013, and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023, this afternoon, notwithstanding cloture on H.R.933. The result of such an agreement would be that the clocks run concurrently on both measures (CR and Budget).
The rules governing consideration of the Budget Resolution limits debate on the Budget resolution to 50 hours equally divided and, within that time, allocates 2 hours for first degree amendments and 1 hour for second degree amendments, also equally divided. When the question is on an amendment, we could vote on the amendment (up or down), a motion to table, or a motion to waive any applicable points of order.
We expect to consider amendments throughout consideration of the Budget Resolution, with a crescendo in action near or at the end of time. Upon the use or yielding back of time, senators may offer an unlimited number of amendments and are allowed an immediate vote in relation to the amendment. In the past we have sought unanimous consent to allow for 2 minutes for debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to the amendment and limit vote time to 10 minutes. As usual, I will send a message when any consent agreement governing consideration of the resolution is reached.
Senators should be prepared for roll call votes throughout the week and into the evenings, once consideration of the Budget begins.