Schumer to White House: Don't throw 'monkey wrench' into funding talks
© Greg Nash
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures Top GOP senator: Drug pricing action unlikely before end of year MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he has warned President Trump's budget chief to let lawmakers handle government funding negotiations and for the White House to avoid undercutting their talks. 
"I said to him the best deal he can do is let the four corners — House Republicans, House Democrats, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats — negotiate this 2017 budget, as well as the 2018 budget, and we might be able to come up with things," Schumer told reporters during a conference call. 
Schumer met with Mick Mulvaney, the director of Office of Management and Budget, last week but said on Tuesday that he is not negotiating government funding with the White House. 
"I met with Mulvaney once ... and I said to you what I said to him," he told reporters. "I think the talks are going pretty well right now. And the White House doesn't have to throw a monkey wrench into it." 
Questions about the government funding talks come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Former Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled MORE (R-Ky.) told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday that Schumer was negotiating with the White House ahead of the April 28 to deadline to avoid a shutdown. 
"Schumer’s in negotiations with the White House, which is important, because we’ll need Democratic votes to pass the government funding bill when we get back. And I’m optimistic that’s not going to happen," he said. 
Schumer's office quickly denied that the New York Democrat is negotiating with the Trump administration on avoiding a shutdown.
"The White House has not been heavily involved and Senator Schumer is not engaged in appropriations talks with the administration," Matt House, a spokesman for the minority leader, said on Friday.
House added that lawmakers are making "very good progress" on a deal to fund the government. 
"The only thing that could derail that progress is the White House insisting on their extraneous demands, which would meet bipartisan opposition," he said. 
Lawmakers are in the middle of a two-week recess and will have days to meet the end-of-the-month deadline once they return to Washington on April 24. 
McConnell later told reporters on Friday that he might have been "mistaken," adding: "I thought they were talking with each other. ... I know he and Director Mulvaney met this week."