Senate Leaders, Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Mitch McConnell announced that they are close to a deal on the budget that would keep the government funded for two years, Schumer said from the floor of the Senate today. The deal would keep the government funded for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and would avoid the prospect of another government shutdown.
The plan was laid out in this way: The senate will vote on a one year defense appropriations bill either today or tomorrow. That vote is expected to fail but it is intended to demonstrate that a six-week military spending bill expected to pass the House doesn’t have enough support to pass the Senate.
If Senate Democrats block that bill, McConnell would then amend the House bill to include whatever deal he and Schumer strike within the next twenty-four hours. If he and Schumer fail to strike a deal, McConnell could then amend the House bill with a failsafe option that would keep the government open.
The government shutdown for three days last month after an agreement on immigration and defense, among other issues, could not be reached. The government was reopened with a bill that funded the government through February 8, on the condition that McConnell would bring votes on those issues to the floor if a compromise wasn’t worked out by that date.
McConnell said earlier today that he had a positive meeting with Schumer. “I’m optimistic that very soon we’ll be able to reach an agreement,” he said.