McConnell: Two-year spending deal could be made today

By Tony Bertuca / May 21, 2019 at 2:54 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said today a two-year spending deal that includes raising the debt ceiling could be made between Republicans and Democrats as soon as the end of the day.

McConnell told reporters at the Capitol he had a "very encouraging" meeting this morning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Other members of the GOP and Democratic leadership were also present.

"We are anxious to reach a caps agreement," McConnell said. "Our hope is to make a deal before the day is over."

Still, the majority leader said he did not want to get too far ahead of the process.

"I've been to a lot of these meetings over the years," he said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he is similarly optimistic, though he noted there remain "some significant issues outstanding" on increasing non-defense spending.

"We're working hard on it," he told reporters. "It was a good productive meeting. We're having good discussions."

The meeting is scheduled to resume at 4:15pm.

McConnell said he believes President Trump understands that a deal to lift spending caps for both defense and non-defense spending is better than other alternatives, one of which would mean a $70 billion cut to defense.

"The American people have given us divided government," he said. "We've got to talk to each other."