With time running short and the federal government set to shutdown after midnight on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a continuing resolution Friday morning that would extend operations for one week.
The bill, which earlier passed in the House on a party-line vote, also calls for $12 billion in additional spending cuts and a full funding of the Pentagon for the remainder of the fiscal year.
According to observers, the move is largely procedural and meant to insulate Democrats from potential fallout from public anger over an eventual shutdown. Reid, D-Nev., is not offering the bill with hopes of passage, but rather as a way to attach a substitute bill that would include no additional cuts. The substitute bill would then have to go back to the House for approval, where it is unlikely to pass the Republican majority.
Reid also said Democrats had agreed to $38 billion in cuts, which he said was close enough to the Republican figure to put a spending deal in place. However, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, disagreed, saying there wasn't a deal and spending remained an issue.