WASHINGTON — Their power ebbing, Senate Democrats launched a last-minute drive Saturday to confirm roughly 20 of President Obama’s nominees, and several Republicans blamed tea party-backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for creating an opening for the outgoing majority party to exploit.

Lawmakers took a break from their intrigue long enough to send Obama legislation that provides funds for the government to remain open until Wednesday at midnight, easing concerns of a shutdown. Separately, private negotiations appeared close to fruition on a deal to permit a swift vote on a $1.1 trillion long-term funding bill that was the main item left on Congress’ year-end agenda.

Republicans tried to slow the nomination proceedings, but several voiced unhappiness with Cruz, a potential presidential candidate in 2016. One likened his actions to his role in precipitating a 16-day partial government shutdown more than a year ago.

“I’ve seen this movie before, and I wouldn’t pay money to see it again,” Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said between seemingly endless roll calls.

As the day wore on, senators were forced to spend hour after hour on the Senate floor to cast their votes. One, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, sat at her desk on the Senate floor quietly for a while during the afternoon and read a book. By evening, strains of Christmas carols could be heard from behind the closed doors of rooms that surround the chamber.

Cruz blamed the Democrats’ leader, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, saying his “last act as majority leader is to, once again, act as an enabler” for the president by blocking a vote on Obama’s policy that envisions work visas for an estimated 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

Cruz said Reid was “going to an embarrassing length to tie up the floor to obstruct debate and a vote on this issue because he knows amnesty is unpopular with the American people, and he doesn’t want the Democrats on the record as supporting it.”

Lawmakers in both parties said the $1.1 trillion spending measure would pass. It faced opposition from Democratic liberals upset about the repeal of a banking regulation and Republican conservatives unhappy that it failed to challenge Obama’s immigration moves.

Immigration was the issue that Cruz cited late Friday night when he tried to challenge the bill. That led swiftly to the unraveling of an informal bipartisan agreement to give the Senate the weekend off.