Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled Tuesday there’s partisan wrangling between Republicans and Democrats in their negotiations to fund the government ahead of the current deadline at the end of the month.
The Kentucky Republican said leaders from both chambers agreed not to add any “poison pills” to spending bills in an effort to avoid last minute bickering, which in recent history has led to government shutdowns.
He told reporters outside the chamber Tuesday afternoon that Democrats are trying to “wiggle out” of that agreement, saying it was a “disturbing development” in their talks.
“We don’t want to have the chaos that is associated with government shutdowns,” Mr. McConnell said. “It is no way to run the government.”
Before leaving for August recess, the president and congressional leaders reached a deal to increase spending and suspend the federal debt limit for two years, as the Washington Times reported in July.
In the deal, the leaders from both parties agreed not to launch new policy fights during the spending process, promising “there will be no poison pills” attached to spending bills.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, though, pushed back, telling reporters the disagreement is over more money Republicans have demanded to build the president’s wall along the southern border.
“I heard Leader McConnell say poison pills are the reason … that’s not the reason,” the New York Democrat said. “Their proposal, which didn’t work out… puts $12 billion more for the wall. That is not going to happen, we know that. That’s what’s causing all their problems.”
When the Senate returned after their month long recess, Mr. McConnell said the chamber’s focus will be on finalizing appropriation bills. Democrats demanded debate on gun control legislation.
“A major focus of the Senate this month will be moving forward as many of the regular appropriation bills as possible and then passing a temporary continuing resolution for the outstanding parts of the government before the end of September,” Mr. McConnell said Monday.