McConnell predicts short-term spending bill will pass

McConnell said "discussions are already under way between" the Obama administration, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle 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 FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House Flake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense MORE (Ariz.), and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) said they would oppose the bill.

In the Senate, Republican Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE (Fla.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle With religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown 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."