The Senate has begun their cloture vote on the state fiscal aid bill, which would provide $26.1 billion dollars in Medicaid and education jobs funding. The bill, a gut-and-amend of an FAA Authorization Bill, is fully paid for through a series of measures, including an $11.9 billion dollar cut to the food stamp program, starting in 2014. Allies pushing for this vote vow to restore that funding in later years.

I’ll update as it goes along. All eyes are on three Senators: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Ben Nelson.

…Even if this vote passes, the House would have to concur, and they’re not supposed to be in session until September. There was talk yesterday of calling the House back to pass this.

…Scott Brown votes no, he actually authored a state aid bill that was fully paid for that was substantially similar to this.

…Ben Nelson votes Aye, as does Lieberman and Pryor. Basically, if Collins or Snowe votes Aye, this will pass.

…Susan Collins votes Aye, so this is going to pass today. We’ll see if the House goes into session for it. And of course, it just delays a cut to the poor out four years, so there’s work to be done.

…Snowe also voted Aye.

…The motion passes 61-38. I would expect final passage to happen sometime this week.

Voting is happening now on final passage. This is a victory for state budgets, but work will have to be done to avoid that food stamp cut in 2014. Basically it’s a deferral more than anything.