Mr. REID. Madam President, I want to advise everyone as to what is happening with our effort to keep the government running. On Thursday we recessed for the weekend so negotiators could attempt to reach an agreement on a finite list of amendments to consider today. The bill managers, Senators Shelby and Mikulski, have worked very hard, and they have made progress over the weekend. They have condensed the number of amendments that are being seriously talked about. I commend them and their staff for all their efforts. I have spoken to both of them this morning; they have not yet reached an agreement. I think they are getting close--or at least I hope that is the case. Just before coming in here, I spoke to one of the staff members, and he is reaching out to Senator Shelby's staff before presenting it to the two Senators for their approval.
Frankly, I had trouble getting both sides to agree on a finite list of amendments. There were a lot of amendments that people wanted, but he objected to this and she objected to that. There is still hope that we can have a limited number of amendments and vote on those so we can move to final passage of the bill. One way or another, we have to move forward on this bill.
On Wednesday I filed a motion to invoke cloture on the pending substitute amendment and the underlying bill. On Thursday we postponed that cloture vote, anticipating that an agreement would be reached and that we could consider amendments today. Absent an agreement, we will vote on a cloture petition tonight. It is in the interest of all Senators that we move forward with this important legislation. The House is waiting on our action. There is a great deal of work to do on either side of the aisle before March 27 kicks in.
Also, the more time we spend on this continuing resolution, the less time we will have to vote on amendments to the budget resolution. As a reminder, the budget resolution cannot be filibustered, but there is 50 hours of debate allowed. We must reserve time this week to consider a number of amendments on the budget. After all 50 hours expires, there will be unlimited amendments. So this is going to be a very full week. Senators should expect to work into the night as well as some late votes.
We will stay as long as it takes to complete work on both the continuing resolution and the budget resolution even if that means working on the weekend and into the Easter and Passover recess. I understand that Passover is on Monday, so if we don't finish over the weekend, we would have to come back after Passover, which would be terribly unfortunate, but we need some cooperation from Senators on both sides of the aisle. I am hopeful and confident we can get there.