It has been seven years since the Senate passed the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act under regular order. Thursday afternoon the Senate handily voted 90-8 to pass the $37.5 billion funding measure (H.R. 2028) -the first appropriations bill to reach the floor of the Senate this year.
The bill had been stymied for weeks by a controversial amendment from Senator Tom Cotton (AR) banning the purchase of heavy water from nuclear plants in Iran. This was seen as countering President Obama’s recent Iran deal, and the White House had publicly stated that the president would veto the bill with that amendment included. After a procedural vote on Sen. Cotton’s amendment was three votes shy of the required 60, he agreed to withdraw the amendment, allowing the appropriations bill to proceed. An additional amendment from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stating that human activity contributes to climate change did not reach the floor.