Lawmakers still at odds over government funding bill as deadline looms

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — 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 says Democrats want to thrust other policy disagreements back into the appropriations process while Democrats say 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,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says 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.

“I’d like to have him negotiate and keep the same position more than a couple hours at a time,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said.

Congress faces a December 20 deadline to fund the government.

Van Hollen says passing another continuing resolution isn’t enough.

“We’d be much better off if we could get a fresh budget,” he added.

Despite the pressure, Leahy said he’s optimistic.

“Otherwise, you’re going to have massive cuts in social programs and defense programs,” he 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.

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 added.

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