Democrats and Republicans can't even agree on the size of a stopgap measure to fund the government for one month -- let alone until the end of the fiscal year on Sept 30. But they have just a handful of working days to bridge that impasse because, if they don't, the government will shut down on March 4.
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While top Republican and Democratic staffers from both chambers negotiate longer-term federal spending legislation, House and Senate Democrats say that the government should continue to operate at current spending levels until April. Those levels, they point out, are already reduced to a level set by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last year. And further across-the-board cuts would be too disruptive.
"Since this bill is intended to fund vital services like Social Security, our military and border security, it should have no legislation or riders tied to it," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a statement. "This bill will include the $41 billion in budget cuts that Democrats and Republicans agreed to in December, and will keep the government running for 30 days while both sides can negotiate a common-sense, long-term solution.
No way, say Republicans.