Democrats Make Move to Suspend Key Senate Rules in Order to Advance Massive Spending Bill

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Senate Democrats reportedly attempted on Monday to suspend Senate rules in order to push a blocked government funding bill after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) objected to it last week.

Before Johnson put a wrench in the works last week, the Senate had been making good progress on the yearly spending measures, passing all 12 of them out of the Senate Appropriations Committee with bipartisan backing.

To prevent Patty Murray (D-Washington), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Susan Collins (R-Maine), vice chairwoman of the committee, from introducing a substitute amendment to the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, Johnson invoked Rule XVI, which effectively prohibits senators from broadening the scope of appropriations bills.

They offered an alternative amendment that would have made the base legislation into a “minibus,” funding military construction in addition to the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.

The Senate debate last week came to a screeching halt as a result of Johnson’s procedural objection, delaying votes that were scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

On Monday, Democrats retaliated by introducing a resolution to suspend Senate rules, which was a bold move because it required the support of 67 senators to pass.

Murray then rose to make a motion to suspend Rule XVI and stated that she hopes to have revisions to the minibus available while the motion is pending.

It remains to be seen whether the strange move will end up paying off for the Democrats.

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