McConnell tees up vets funding bill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP blocks voting rights bill Schumer, McConnell spar as GOP prepares to block voting bill Trump has 'zero desire' to be Speaker, spokesman says MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday teed up a procedural vote on a veterans funding bill, pressuring Democrats to let the bill move forward. 
The Republican leader filed cloture on proceeding to the legislation, which funds veterans' benefits and military construction and housing. Under Senate rules, that sets up a procedural vote on taking up the bill for as early as Friday, if the Senate is in session. 
"[It's] one of the 12 pieces of appropriations legislation we must pass to properly fund our government. It is a bipartisan bill that does a lot of important things for our country," he said. "Democrats have said nice things about it in press releases sent out to their various states." 
The move came after the Senate passed a short-term spending bill that will fund the government through Dec. 11. Lawmakers will try to reach a longer budget deal before then, with McConnell telling reporters on Tuesday that he has spoken to President Obama. 
The Republican leader is trying to pressure Democrats to back the legislation, saying that Americans are "ready to see Democrats start supporting, not blocking, the very bipartisan funding legislation they previously voted for and actually bragged about." 
"I also said we'd give our colleagues a chance to do so this week, so I've just set up a vote that will give them that opportunity," McConnell added, referring to his remarks earlier Wednesday. 
Democrats have been calling on Republicans for months to sit down and negotiate a budget that would roll back congressionally mandated spending caps. 
Referring to McConnell's remarks that a long-term budget will likely break those caps, Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBiden fails to break GOP 'fever' Nevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms MORE (D-Nev.) fired back, proclaiming, "I say hallelujah." 
"We're ready to negotiate. That was the original intent of sequestration, to force Republicans and Democrats to the negotiating table," he added.