By Vicki Needham - 03/14/11 09:26 PM EDT
McConnell said "discussions are already under way between" the Obama administration, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (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 Flake (Ariz.), and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) said they would oppose the bill.
In the Senate, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Mike Lee (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."