- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 13, 2014

Congress on Saturday passed a short-term funding bill to keep the government open through the middle of next week while senators work through a string of procedural hurdles that stand in the way of passing the broader $1.1 trillion bill that will fund operations for everything but homeland security through the end of fiscal year 2015.

The vote to approve the short-term bill lacked drama. It was voted on by voice in the Senate, clearing a day after it passed the House by a similar undramatic procedure.

But it’s about the only point of agreement for senators, who were in the middle of a marathon voting session as Democrats looked to force action on 20 of President Obama’s nominees, hoping to approve them before they lose control of the chamber.

Republicans, still furious over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s use of the so-called “nuclear option” last year to change the rules and make it tougher to filibuster nominees, were forcing him to jump through multiple procedural hoops for each nominee.

Things were so touchy on the Senate floor that a GOP senator refused to allow Mr. Reid to reduce the voting time from 15 minutes down to 10 minutes — a move that’s considered normal when senators stack votes up one after the other.

The short-term spending bill lasts through Wednesday.

The broader $1.1 trillion bill should be passed Monday, when centrists in both parties will overcome objections by their right-wing and left-wing senators who each see different reasons to fight against the bill.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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