The House succeeded in passing a stop-gap measure on Friday to continue funding the government. Now the continuing resolution goes to the Senate, where it will die. The Democratic-controlled upper chamber will not pass a bill that defunds the president's health care law.
The Senate will start debating the bill as early as Monday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to file cloture to begin debate that day, according to Senate aides.
That sets up a Wednesday vote to officially bring the bill to the Senate floor. That requires 60 votes and is expected to go through.
The process becomes less clear after that.
Reid has a number of options for stripping out the language that defunds the president's health care law while still funding the government.
Under one likely scenario, he would wait until after a cloture vote on the bill--that would take place Thursday or Friday if senators don't all agree to shorten that time window.
Then, an amendment to strip the defund language would be considered in order and automatically come up for a vote. It would take only 51 votes to pass the amendment, and then 51 votes to pass the final bill.
In any case, we're not likely to see Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on the Senate floor carrying on an extended filibuster. Reid won't run the floor without a time agreement that will limit how much time each side has. And Cruz would need 40 other Republicans to stand with him to prevent the bill from moving forward--so he can't sustain a filibuster, anyway.
If Cruz does make good on his promise to do "everything necessary and anything possible" to defund the health care law, the best he can do at this point is delay a vote until the weekend--Saturday night, Sept. 28, or Sunday, Sept. 29.