WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday overcame a procedural hurdle blocking consideration of the California desert protection bill, but the fate of the massive land-use act remains uncertain as opponents weigh further delaying tactics for next week.
The Senate voted 73 to 20 to inch the legislation forward, but proponents face the prospect of a jammed Senate calendar and a crush of mandatory, end-of-session business to complete before adjourning.
Republicans, led by retiring Sen. Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming, have the California Desert Protection Act tied up in parliamentary knots, refusing to allow the bill to go to a House-Senate conference committee.
Both houses of Congress have already passed versions of the bill by comfortable margins.
But opponents could choose to require two more cloture votes and hours of additional debate, putting the bill's final passage in serious doubt.