Before leaving Washington to concentrate efforts on their re-election campaigns, U.S. senators voted Saturday to fund the federal government into 2013 and passed a measure asserting a tough stance towards Iran over its nuclear program.
In a 62 to 30 vote in a session that stretched past midnight, the legislators approved the moneys necessary for government to function for the next six months and avoided a possible shutdown until early next year - thus forgoing any partisan funding standoff well past November's election date.
The bill will go to President Obama for its anticipated signature into law.
In a bipartisan show of steadfastness on Iran, Senators passed a non-binding resolution - nearly unanimously - for the United States to pursue a policy other than containment, if necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Senate Joint Resolution 41 advises that time is running out on diplomacy, and it "rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran."
The bill reflects and supports President Obama's existing stance.
It passed with only one vote against it, that of Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky.
"A vote for this resolution is a vote for the concept of preemptive war," Paul objected in his arguments before the Senate preceding the roll call ballot.
The bill text ended with the statement: "Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war."
Paul found himself at odds with Senators from both parties a second time in the late-night session, when legislators from both parties in a 81 to 10 vote handily rejected a bill, which the Kentucky senator had sponsored, to strip perceived uncooperative Islamic countries of U.S. foreign aid.
Under the measure, Egypt, Libya and Pakistan -- nations Paul argues have not been willing partners in the war on terror -- would have lost American support.
Several Republican senators had spoken out against Paul's measure saying now is not the time to take the funds from countries with nascent governments that could be important partners with the United States in the future.