Senate Dems play hardball on funding bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are warning that they will not accept a plan by House conservatives to pair a full year of defense funding with a short-term fix for other programs.

"We write to express our concern with reports that the House Republican leadership is considering sending partisan legislation to the Senate that would result in funding cuts to important homeland security, veterans, agriculture and health care programs," 44 of the caucus's 48 members wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Senate candidate: Kavanaugh 'debacle' 'hugely motivating' to Missouri voters Trump praises McConnell: He ‘stared down the angry left-wing mob’ to get Kavanaugh confirmed Murkowski not worried about a Palin challenge MORE (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy introduces bill to fully fund Trump's border wall On The Money: McCarthy offers bill to fully fund Trump border wall | US to press China on currency in trade talks | Mnuchin plans to go ahead with Saudi trip | How America's urban-rural divide is changing the Dems Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas MORE (R-Wis.).

They said Republicans should "forego any plans to consider partisan legislation known as a 'CRomnibus.'"

The letter comes as leadership is locked down in negotiations with the White House ahead of next week's Dec. 22 deadline to fund the government. 

House conservatives are pushing leadership to take up a "cromnibus" that would pair defense funding through the end of September with a short-term continuing resolution for nondefense programs. 

Democrats warn that they will not let the bill pass the Senate, where Republicans need their support to help pass legislation and avoid a government shutdown. 

"There is a better path — let the bipartisan negotiation continue in good faith so that Democrats and Republicans can produce a budget agreement that fully funds our homeland security, health care, and Veterans’ needs. If presented with partisan legislation that leaves these key priorities behind, we will oppose it," they wrote. 

With a 52-seat majority, Republicans would need to win over at least eight Democratic senators to pass a government funding bill.

Lawmakers are hoping to lock down a separate deal on raising the budget caps by next week. They would then pass a short-term continuing resolution into January, giving staffers enough time to write the full-year funding bill.