McConnell said "discussions are already under way between" the Obama administration, Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLast Congress far from ‘do-nothing’ Top aide: Obama worried about impeachment for Syria actions An anti-government ideologue like Mulvaney shouldn't run OMB MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidFranken emerges as liberal force in hearings GOP eyes new push to break up California court The DC bubble is strangling the DNC MORE (D-Nev.) and the extra time gives the leaders a chance to "re-engage" their talks on a long-term CR "and try to get an ultimate solution for this year's spending."
"So this will be an interesting challenge as we go forward," he said.
Since the House's latest measure was introduced on Friday, several Republicans including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the head of the powerful conservative Republican Study Committee, Reps. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeGOP eyes new push to break up California court Live coverage of Trump's inauguration Under Trump, the disruptors return to Washington (that's a good thing) MORE (Ariz.), and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) said they would oppose the bill.
In the Senate, Republican Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Tillerson met with top State official: report MORE (Fla.) and Mike LeeMike LeeBooker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy Right renews push for term limits as Trump takes power MORE (Utah) also said they'll oppose the short-term measure.
McConnell said the CR involves "a complex set of issues, including the absence of riders such as defunding the healthcare law and Planned Parenthood.
"If you put riders on, you have a different set of problems," he said. "I think we can stipulate that this is not going to be easy. Different members have different goals."
He wouldn't speculate as to whether this bill will be the last short-term measure.
"I'm not going to project the way forward here," he said. "We're trying to achieve spending reductions. No one can actually remember when that last happened."
He the ongoing discussions about how much to ultimately cut and what, if any, riders to include provide a good argument for completing the budget process and passing each of the 12 spending bill.
"I've been in a number of conversations with my counterpart, Senator Reid, about actually doing the basic work of government this year," he said. "That is actually passing each individual appropriation bill. I hope we'll do that."