Top spending committee senators Monday unveiled a measure to keep the government open past March 27, when funding expires, and it seems largely free of serious controversy. The Senate is expected to begin considering the bill Tuesday.
The measure, which maintains the same spending levels as last week's House-passed stopgap funding bill, would give some agencies more flexibility to spend.
Both principals involved in crafting the bill had hopes for its eventual success.
"We must prevent a government shutdown,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
The bill, she said, "complies with the Budget Control Act, improves the House CR for many critical priorities, and lets us wrap up fiscal year 2013 so we can get to next year’s budget and find a balanced solution to sequester.”
The panel's vice chairman, Alabama Republican Richard Shelby, sounded a similar note.
"Chairwoman Mikulski and I began this process with three shared goals: first, to prevent a government shutdown; second, to provide as much flexibility as possible for the remainder of this fiscal year; and third, to produce a bill that both parties in both houses can support,” he said.
"I believe that we have achieved all three goals. At a time when many doubt whether Congress can accomplish anything at all, this agreement is a very clear demonstration of our commitment to work together.”