Dreams of a quick departure from Washington, D.C. for Congress was delayed on Thursday, as wrangling over a six month temporary budget, foreign aid and a bill dealing with hunting on public lands forced Senators to come back into session on Friday, with threats of a weekend session.
While both parties were ready to vote on a stop gap budget to keep the government running until nearly the end of March, Democrats at the last minute raised the stakes by demanding a vote on a package of legislation backed by Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who is in a difficult race for re-election.
The plan, the Sportsmen's Act of 2012, includes 20 different provisions that have the backing of everything from the National Rifle Association to the Nature Conservancy, Safari Club and fish and wildlife groups. (You can find the details of that bill at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc112/s3525_pcs.xml)
As of now, there will be a vote around 1:01 am on Saturday - Friday night after midnight - to shut off debate and block any amendments to the stop gap budget.
Those amendments to the temporary budget could include a bid by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to force votes on cuts he wants to make in foreign aid to Pakistan, though it is expected that would be easily defeated.
A vote to force a start to debate on the Tester sportsmen's bill would occur on Sunday.
Under the current schedule, a final vote on the temporary budget plan could not occur until about 7:30 pm on Sunday at the earliest - unless a deal is cut on Friday to speed that up.
Usually, the threat of a weekend session is just that - a threat, as Senators cave to pressure from their colleagues to speed up the votes and let everyone get out of town.
We'll see if that happens this time.
One more thing about the Senate schedule - over the years, I have come to Sunday sessions as "rare" and Saturday sessions as "unusual."
But this year, a Friday session of the Senate where votes are taken has become very unusual.
In fact, if Senators hold a vote on Friday September 21, it would be the first Friday vote in the Senate since the end of June, and only the third Friday voting session of 2012; the other voting Friday was February 17.
So, Senators may be on the verge of wrapping things up before the election - or they could have to duke it out all weekend. Stay tuned.
A Lawrenceville pastor wants his congregation to know the good news about the Gospel of Mark. Dean Sweetman, senior pastor of the C3 Church, has challenged his members and anyone else interested to read the New Testament book in its entirety over the next year and post Instagram photos of their notes.
Bernice King, the one member of Martin Luther King Jr.’s direct family who does not want to sell his Nobel Peace Prize and Bible, is scheduled to turn the items over today to be watched over by the Fulton County Superior Court.