The move by Cruz and Lee will force members of the Senate to return to the Capitol at noon on Saturday, where McConnell has indicated that Democrats will have to go through 40 procedural votes just to get their remaining 20 nominees onto the Senate calendar, according to the aide. Actual passage of those nominees won't come until later next week. First members will have to deal with the omnibus bill, which is now slated for a procedural vote at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning and a vote on final passage at 7 a.m. Monday morning.
In the meantime, the Senate is expected to pass a continuing resolution on Saturday that will fund the government through Wednesday, buying more time for members to jump through all of these legislative hurdles.
Reid had been negotiating with McConnell from Friday afternoon into the evening to bring up a vote on the omnibus bill, allowing senators to go home with their biggest legislative need checked off the list. Indeed, leaders of both parties wanted the vote done by Friday night because they were worried that a weekend away from the Capitol could wipe away some of the work done by Republican and Democratic whipping teams over the last 24 hours.
But leadership's efforts fell short, as Cruz and other conservatives angered by Obama's immigration order insisted the legislation attack the White House's executive action.
They weren't alone in standing against the bill, however. From the left, Elizabeth Warren held firm in her opposition to the $1.1 trillion measure too.
Warren mounted an aggressive anti-Wall Street speech on the Senate floor, railing against a provision inserted into the House spending bill that would loosen one of the restrictions set in the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul. "You know, there is a lot of talk lately about how Dodd-Frank isn't perfect," she said. "There is a lot of talk coming from Citigroup about how Dodd-Frank isn't perfect. So let me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi—I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn't perfect. It should have broken you into pieces."
Nevertheless, prospects for Friday passage had seemed strong earlier in the day. After discussions over lunch, Senate Republicans talked confidently about a quick resolution on the horizon. The Senate's No. 3 Republican, John Thune, exited the meeting, predicting that members will quickly pass the omnibus spending bill and conclude the rest of their business for the year "sometime in the next day or two."
All 100 senators would have to agree in order for the chamber to take up the omnibus bill before the weekend. Republicans, McConnell indicated later in the day, had the agreement of their members.
But that agreement was dependent on a vote for a terrorism risk insurance (TRIA) measure, that includes another revision to the Dodd-Frank law and which Democrats find unacceptable. McConnell's deal also did not include votes on more than a dozen nominees that Reid has said must pass the upper chamber before the Senate breaks for the year (and he loses his majority).