The Senate voted on Wednesday to consider a government funding bill passed by the House of Representatives last week.
Debate about the bill and changes to it will take up much of the Senate's time in the coming days as Congress works to avoid an impending government shutdown.
The Inquisitr previously reported that Wednesday's vote by the Senate was preceded by a marathon filibuster from Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who spoke about the merits of defunding Obamacare.
The bill passed by the House includes an amendment that would defund the Affordable Care Act. However, the Senate is controlled by Democrats, making it likely the amendment will be removed before a final vote is taken.
The Los Angeles Times notes that Wednesday's vote was the first of likely many hurdles the bill will face in the Senate. The vote results were a rare 100-0 to pass the first hurdle.
Because Cruz monopolized the floor in the first debate session, time isn't on the Senate's side to come to an agreement before the funding deadline hits Monday night.
With Wednesday's vote, The Washington Post reports that the Senate will have 30 hours to debate the House bill before another vote is taken.
Following the procedural vote at 1 pm, senators began debating the funding bill, though their arguments mainly centered around the health care law. While Republicans asserted ObamaCare should be repealed, Democrats defended the health care law's accomplishments.
While debate is happening in the Senate, it is unlikely the House bill will pass as it stands now. Only 51 votes are needed to make changes to the bill, and Democrats have 54 seats. Final passage of the bill, likely without the healthcare provision, may not happen until Sunday evening.
That timeframe would leave about 24 hours for the House to decide if it will pass the Senate's bill or hold out in the hopes of defunding Obamacare.