POSTED: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 11:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 7:08pm
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Senators are scheduled to begin voting on a series of measures at midnight Friday before leaving Washington to return home and campaign for re-election.
The most significant vote will be on a bill to fund the federal government for the next six months, putting off any threat of a government shutdown until early next year. That bill, which has already been approved in the House and is expected to easily pass the Senate, will go to the president for his signature.
In addition, the Senate is expected to approve a bipartisan resolution aimed at discouraging Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program. The nonbinding resolution says the United States will not rely on a containment policy if Iran develops a nuclear weapons program. It also urges President Obama to continue economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure to force Iran to stop any such weapons development.
The Senate is expected to reject a bill sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, which would strip U.S. foreign aid from Egypt, Libya and Pakistan -- nations Paul argues have not been willing partners in the war on terror. Several Republican senators spoke out against Paul's measure saying now is not the time to strip funds from countries with nascent governments that could be important partners with the United States in the future.
The Senate is also expected to cast a procedural vote on whether to begin debate in November on a bill designed to ease a myriad of regulations that affect people who hunt and fish. The bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester who is in a tight re-election battle in Montana. Senate Democrats hope action on the bill will be a boost to his campaign. Aides from both parties said they think the motion will get the 60 votes required to succeed but were not certain.
The votes were scheduled late to accommodate senators who had campaign duties back in their states and could not return to Washington until late Friday, according to several aides and senators.
The Senate is expected to return to work after the November 6 general election and begin negotiations over what to do with expiring Bush tax cuts and the automatic spending cuts which go into effect at the end of the year.
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