- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2019

A tentative agreement to avert another government shutdown was reached by lawmakers on Thursday, according to House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey.

The New York Democrat announced the anticipated deal after a meeting with Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby, who indicated that the appropriators are still working to answer a few unresolved details.

Funding for the government expires on Friday, Dec. 20, absent new action from Congress.

Throughout the week, congressional appropriators and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin have huddled with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and selected Thursday as a deadline to resolve major disagreements. The group appeared hit a snag on whether to agree to another stopgap solution to the spending impasse or a longer-term fix.

Early in the week, Mr. McConnell sounded optimistic about completing the appropriations process next week before Senators headed home for the Christmas holiday. But on Thursday, the Kentucky Republican accused Democratic leadership of working to subvert a longer-term solution to the spending impasse.

“The story is the same as it’s been for months: partisan policy demands, poison pills, exactly the playbook that the Speaker of the House and the Democratic Leader had explicitly promised months ago in writing they would not use to sabotage appropriations,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor on Thursday. “[E]ven in mid-December, they are still using those tactics to jeopardize all of our progress. It doesn’t have to end this way. I know earnest discussions are still under way in both chambers [to] fix this.”

Mrs. Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that Senate Republicans’ legislative pace gave her cause for concern that lawmakers would stick to their end of the year schedule but Mrs. Pelosi said she was choosing to remain optimistic.

“We’re not going to have a shutdown of government,” the California Democrat said Thursday.

Other Democrats were not quite so certain. Senior Democratic aides told The Washington Times earlier this week that the main obstacle to averting a shutdown is not Senate Republicans, but President Trump. Funding for a southern border wall has been a sticking point in spending negotiations throughout the year.

Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this report.

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