On Saturday, the Senate shuttered its chamber doors after sending a spending bill to President Barack Obama that will ensure the government would not shut down on October 1, when the new budget year starts. Early on Saturday, the Senate passed the new measure 62-30 and then Washington lawmakers exited town and headed to the campaign trail.
Lawmakers left behind for the first post-election session a large amount of unfinished business on taxes, the budget, farm policy and a measure to help save the U.S. Postal Service from becoming insolvent.
The only item that had to be taken care of was the new six-month measure approved on Saturday morning, which fulfilled the minimum responsibilities of Congress by maintaining the government running when the budget year concludes September 30.
The new measure allows for spending on operating budgets at agreed upon levels under the budget that was approved last summer between Republicans on Capitol Hill and Obama. The measure is a 0.6% increase over current rates of spending, which is a defeat for Republicans in the House, who sought to cut close to 2% from the budget deal and move $8 billion to the Pentagon from domestic programs.
Harry Reid the Majority Leader in the Senate also gave in to a demand from Republican Senator Rand Paul for a vote on stopping foreign aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan. Paul was only able to get 10 votes. However, Lindsey Graham a Republican Senator from South Carolina won the approval of a resolution that is nonbinding that supports steps to ensure Iran does not develop its planned nuclear weapon.
The exit by Capitol lawmakers was their earliest for an election since 1960 and they will not return until after the election on November 6.