According to multiple sources in both chambers, Republican leaders are prepared to move forward today with the Senate-brokered deal to end the fiscal impasse. The agreement would fund the government until January 15, extend the debt ceiling until February 7, and initiate a budget conference for fiscal negotiations later this year. The agreement would also keep sequestration intact.
In floor speeches, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both expressed confidence, even though the showdown has been trying. “This time was really hard,” Reid said. “But in the end, political adversaries set aside their differences and disagreements to prevent that disaster.” McConnell, for his part, sounded relieved, especially about Republicans’ ability to “protect the historic cuts we achieved under the Budget Control Act.”
Votes on the measure will begin this afternoon. The Senate will vote first, and then the House will consider the legislation. House leadership aides predict if 70-plus senators support the deal, it’ll have an easier chance of winning Republican votes in the House. Many House Democrats are expected to back the deal, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi isn’t expected to break from Reid.
Speaker John Boehner signaled to Senate leaders late Tuesday that he was open to bringing a Senate deal to the floor, due to the House GOP’s problems with whipping support. “It’s what Boehner calls a ‘tough vote,’ which means it’ll need Democrats, and he had told us all along that he may have to do it,” says a veteran House Republican. “The mood in the conference is, we find ourselves here, we’ve fought hard, but we’re not going to blame Boehner for this deal.”
Most Senate Republicans are expected to back the agreement, according to sources familiar with the whip count. And even likely “nay” votes, such as senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, have decided to let the vote happen. There will be no filibusters or objections. “It’s time to move on to future fights,” explains a Senate aide who is close with the conservative bloc. “We’ve done everything we could, but the leadership didn’t listen. Right now, we think it’s more strategic to get ready for the next battle.”