Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday introduced a Republican-drafted bill that would prevent a government shutdown at the end of the month, but it is being opposed by Democrats after bipartisan negotiations stalled late this week.
Senate Republicans and Democrats have been haggling for days over what should be included in the stop-gap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), with leaders at times indicating a deal was close. But continuing disagreements over a handful of policy provisions each party wants to attach to the package could not be resolved.
The move is a sign that McConnell has grown frustrated after weeks of negotiations with Democrats and is trying to put more pressure on the negotiations as the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 approaches.
“Beginning the process on the clean CR today will ensure that there is adequate time to finish before the override vote and before the current government funding runs out next week,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. The House and Senate are expected to hold votes to override President Obama’s expected veto of legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over its alleged support for the terrorists who carried out the attacks.
The stop-gap spending bill would fund the government through Dec. 9 and includes more than $1 billion in funds to combat the spread of the Zika virus. It also includes disaster relief for flooding in Louisiana, but it does not include a bipartisan aid package for the water crisis in Flint, Mich., that Democrats have demanded.
McConnell said lawmakers will have four days to review the bill before a vote is scheduled.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said she and other Democrats will not support the bill over “partisan policy riders” they oppose.
“We Democrats cannot vote for that substitute and urge others to vote against it,” she said.
Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.