Owner's Manual to the 5:30 pm Senate Floor Vote

Just a couple of notes about this key vote coming up this evening in the Senate --

For starters, it's a cloture vote, meaning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) needs 60 votes.

Reid has taken the bill the House passed Friday and stripped out the offsets for disaster funding. So, in essence this legislation does two things: funds the government through November 18 and infuses FEMA with money.

This is a Hail Mary pass by Reid. Two weeks ago, Reid was able to persuade 10 GOP senators to mutiny and vote on his standalone disaster aid bill. It's doubtful Reid can get those votes this time.

If he does, the Senate would have to vote at some point on his new bill...thus putting the House and Senate WAY out of synch with one another because the legislation does not match. And remember, the House is not even here this week.

Regardless, if he doesn't get the 60 votes, Reid will have to decide to fish or cut bait. Last week, Reid said that his side would not cave this time. If he can't get 60, he may have no other choice than to put the House-passed bill on the floor later tonight and forge ahead, just to get FEMA money and avert a government shutdown.

Remember, the government is only funded right now through 11:59:59 pm ET Friday.

The Jewish holiday in the middle of the week makes solving this problem, without taking the House's position, almost impossible.

Unless Reid wants a shutdown.

But that is risky as the GOP has already portrayed Reid as being willing to shutter the government.

Also, look for Reid and McConnell to lay the path forward at 3:30 pm ET on the floor when the Senate comes to session.