Senate to consider massive spending bill - maybe

A massive spending bill to fund five Cabinet departments for the upcoming budget year is about to hit the Senate floor, giving senators a chance at a rare opportunity for open debate.

But that's a maybe.

The chamber easily advanced the measure on a 95-3 test vote, but a subsequent agreement for debate terms proved elusive Tuesday. Democrats controlling the Senate have for years followed their GOP predecessors in restricting the ability of the rank and file to offer amendments to legislation.

The hybrid $180 billion measure by Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski would fund the departments of Commerce, Justice, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture for the 2015 budget year beginning Oct. 1.

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