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Lawmakers say spending deal up to leaders


Lawmakers in both parties say it’s time for Congress’s top four leaders to meet face to face to negotiate a yearlong spending deal as talks among the senior members of the Senate and House Appropriations committees have dragged on and government funding will soon lapse.

But that may be easier said than done given the lingering resentments among the big four.

The four players had central roles in negotiating the last two major budget deals in 2018 and 2019.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP keeps distance from RNC’s Jan. 6 rhetoric Trump, Pence avoid going scorched-earth Schumer: RNC’s Jan. 6 rhetoric ‘chilling and plainly dangerous’ MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenators in both parties discuss small rules changes for future Environmental group says ‘time is up’ for Democrats to act on climate change The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Anticipating an invasion of Ukraine ‘any day’ MORE (D-N.Y.) rarely meet in person, and their relationship took another beating last month when Schumer made an all-out push to change the Senate’s filibuster rule.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiEnvironmental group says ‘time is up’ for Democrats to act on climate change The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Anticipating an invasion of Ukraine ‘any day’ Manchin: Social spending bill elements must go through committee process MORE’s (D) relationship with fellow Californian and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows preview: US deploys troops, briefs lawmakers amid Russia-Ukraine tensions These people have been subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 panel Jan. 6 panel hesitates in asking Pence to testify MORE (R) is even worse.

And even McConnell’s relationship with McCarthy is not what colleagues would call chummy.

The last time McConnell and Schumer sat down together to negotiate was in November, when they met to hash out an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. They finalized their deal just off the Senate floor on Dec. 1 to allow Democrats to increase the nation’s borrowing authority without any Republican votes.

Yet the chairmen and ranking members of the Appropriations committees have been unable to reach a spending deal in large part because they’ve had to shuttle between the negotiating room and their party leaders to get signoff on major concessions, say senators familiar with the talks.

That’s led to more and more calls for the leaders to step in.

“If that’s what needs to be done to get it done, that’s what they need to do. This is not acceptable what’s happening right now,” said Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterEquilibrium/Sustainability — Beijing pollution halved since last Olympics Biden Fed pick faces GOP fire on climate stances GOP makes new offer in funding talks MORE (D-Mont.), the chairman of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

Lawmakers in the House on Monday introduced a…


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