By Alexander Bolton - 09/29/15 02:37 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellObama administration officials ramp up push for Pacific pact Overnight Defense: GOP leaders express concerns after 9/11 veto override | Lawmakers press for Syria 'plan B' | US touts anti-ISIS airstrikes Overnight Finance: Lawmakers call for criminal charges for Wells Fargo chief | Ryan sees recession without tax reform | Aide defends Trump Cuba deals MORE and Speaker John BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE are opening budget negotiations with President Obama.
McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that he and BoehnerJohn Boehner3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform Republican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Dems to GOP: Help us fix ObamaCare MORE (R-Ohio) spoke to Obama last week and expect to sit down more officially with the administration "soon."
GOP leaders want to strike a deal on the top-line budget numbers for fiscal 2016 and 2017 so they can avoid a messy standoff and possible government shutdown during an election year.
“We’d like to settle the top line for both years so that next year we could have a regular appropriations process. The president, Speaker Boehner and I spoke about getting started in the discussions last week and I would expect them to start very soon,” McConnell said.
Boehner, who is resigning from Congress at the end of October, indicated Sunday that he’d like to make life a little easier for the next Speaker by clearing the decks of some difficult issues.
“I don’t want to leave my successor a dirty barn. I want to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets there,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
But whether Boehner and McConnell will be able to reach a deal with the administration that is acceptable to their members remains to be seen.
Democrats are demanding that budget caps be lifted for all government spending, while Republicans are pushing an increase solely for defense programs.
— This story was last updated at 4:04 p.m.