The Senate could vote on the bipartisan bill to raise the debt ceiling and cut federal spending as early as Thursday night, which would let Congress send it to President Biden just days before the U.S. government is expected to run out of cash on June 5.
“There’s not a lot of appetite to drag this out. Nothing is locked in yet, but right now we’re working through the list of amendments and trying to reach a time agreement,” a Senate leadership aide told Fox News Digital on Thursday morning. “As far as timing goes, there’s no reason we couldn’t do everything by tonight. That doesn’t mean that we will, but there’s a lot of appetite to move pretty quickly.”
Several senators have already signaled they are looking to add amendments to the bill, which passed the House late on Wednesday night in a 314-177 vote. Republicans supported the bill by a 149-71 margin, and Democrats supported it 165-46.
The Senate leadership aide cautioned it was still unclear whether any proposed amendments would get a vote in the Senate. But several lawmakers have already warned that they would object to the Senate’s efforts to speed the vote up if amendments were not considered.
“Nothing’s locked in, but you’ve got a couple of different members saying they’ll consent to speed up if they get their vote,” the aide said.
Amendment votes run the risk of altering the bill if they pass, which would mean changes to the deal struck between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden. The Senate could get around that problem by requiring a 60-vote threshold for passage, which could make it easy for senators to kill any proposed changes.
Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday morning, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to keep lawmakers on Capitol Hill until the deal was passed, and cautioned against any attempts to change the deal or delay the process.
“Time is a luxury the Senate does not have if we want to prevent default. June 5 is less than four days away at this point. Any needless delay or any last minute holdups would be an unnecessary and even dangerous risk,” Schumer said.
“And any change to this bill that forces us to send it back to the House would be entirely unacceptable and would almost guarantee default. So again, the Senate will stay in session until we send a bill avoiding default to the president’s desk,” he said.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told reporters on Thursday that he believes the bill will pass either tonight or tomorrow.
“I think it will. The vote in the House is a good indication of bipartisan support. We have our own issues to resolve in the Senate, but I think it’ll pass,” Durbin said.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., offered an amendment to the bill this morning that would strip the bill’s provision granting approval for the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline, which had been a highly sought-after project for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who already said he is voting against the bill, introduced an amendment to strip waiver authority for cost-cutting measures that the legislation had granted to the Office of Management and Budget, whose head is a political appointee.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.C., told reporters on Wednesday that there were about half a dozen GOP amendments on the table.
“I think it could happen fairly quickly if there’s agreement, but we’ll get a better sense of where our members are today,” he said.