WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. senators are expected to be back at their desks at the Capitol Saturday morning to deal with a nearly half-trillion-dollar spending package.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the upper legislative body will vote at 9:30 a.m. on a procedural motion called cloture to end debate on the $447 billion appropriations measure, Roll Call reported Friday. Final passage could come Sunday.
The fiscal 2010 omnibus legislation, which excludes defense spending, has already been approved by the House, largely along party lines. The House version included a 2 percent federal pay raise
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has set his sights on trimming $3.7 billion he says is the price tag for 4,752 earmarks, GovEx.com reported. Among the items he found fault with is a proposal to give the University of Nebraska $2.7 million to support surgical operations in outer space.
"Spending in domestic programs was increased by 14 percent while veterans' spending was increased by 5 percent," McCain said. "That shows the priorities around here."
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., however, touted the spending as a way to create jobs and support the economic recovery.
"I hope we can get past the differences that we have and move quickly to get this bill to the president's desk," Murray said.
It's the second consecutive working weekend for the senators and Reid says some of them are complaining, The Hill noted. One colleague, Reid said, told him she has not seen her family for several weeks.
The schedule also is mucking up political fundraising. Reid canceled a Saturday fundraiser in New Orleans with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., the Washington publication said.