Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) warned Tuesday there is a chance that the government could shutter by the end of this month.
Criticizing House Republicans for the disaster relief provisions in their budget bill, Reid told reporters, "We're not going to cave on this."
Reid, however, said, "I'm not that sure" there won't be a shutdown. He added, "I am not as certain as McConnell."
At issue is increased funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help a number of states recover from various natural disasters. The government funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, that the House will take up on Wednesday contains $3.65 billion for FEMA, but the Senate has previously approved stand-alone legislation that would provide $6.9 billion in relief funds. Reid announced Tuesday he would be amending the House bill to include that increased funding.
Tuesday saw each party accusing the other of playing games with legislation to keep the government funded through Sept. 30. House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorTrump nominates two new DOD officials Brat: New ObamaCare repeal bill has 'significant' changes Overnight Energy: Flint lawmaker pushes EPA for new lead rule MORE (R-Va.) accused Reid earlier in the day of playing a "political game," asserting that the Senate Democrat would be solely to blame if a shutdown occurred.
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Meanwhile, Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist MORE (D-La.), who appeared alongside Reid at a press conference, insisted the House GOP approach was "inadequate" and "wholly unprecedented" for requiring immediate offsets to pay for the disaster funding.
"We will eventually pay for it, but we can argue about that later," she said.
The two Democrats ramped up pressure on the 10 Republican senators, almost all in disaster-affected areas, who previously voted for the stand-alone bill with higher funding. If those Republicans opposed his version of the bill, it would send a "very, very sad message to home that because of partisanship they're going to back off on what's needed," Reid said.
Reid said the deadline for getting a deal on a short-term continuing resolution is Sept 30, the end of the fiscal year. He also indicated that Congress could cancel its scheduled recess for the last week of September if a spending deal is not reached.
"If they want to stay into next week, that's fine we can do that," he said. "We can work all next week."
Peter Schroeder contributed to this story.
This story was updated at 3:25 p.m.