WASHINGTON D.C. — The threat of another government shutdown looms as appropriators work out the kinks on a funding deal that both sides can support – but there are still disagreements.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats want to thrust other policy disagreements back into the appropriations process, while Democrats said they want to avoid the shutdown but still have issues they want resolved, like funding for the border wall.
“We shouldn’t have another shameful and totally unnecessary government shutdown,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he hopes President Donald Trump learned his lesson from the last shutdown and is ready to negotiate.
“He seems to feel on the appropriations bills, ‘my way or the highway,'” Schumer said.
A sticking point has been allocating funds for a border wall, something Trump is adamant about.
“There will be money there for border security, very little of it’s going to go for a wall, no matter what they say,” Leahy said.
Congress faces a Dec. 20 deadline to fund the government after a short-term pact was reached in November. However, Van Hollen said passing another continuing resolution isn’t enough.
“We’d be much better off if we could get a fresh budget,” he said.
Despite the pressure, Leahy said he’s optimistic.
“Otherwise, you’re going to have massive cuts in social programs and defense programs,” he said.
McConnell claims Democrats are allowing policy disagreements to hurt the military.
“Our Democratic colleagues will finally need to rediscover our men and women in uniform are more important than their partisan fights,” he said.
Lawmakers have a little more than two weeks to find a solution.
“It will take a lot of work and cooperation to move the appropriations process forward,” McConnell said.