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Senate leaders near two-year budget deal to prevent shutdown

Senate leaders are close to a two-year budget deal that would avert a government shutdown, Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (N.Y.) announced Tuesday.

The deal would set spending levels for fiscal 2018 and 2019 and avoid the prospect of a government shutdown when a stopgap spending measure expires on Thursday.

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“There are still some outstanding issues to be resolved, but we are closer to an agreement than we have ever been,” Schumer announced on the Senate floor.

He met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.) in McConnell’s office Tuesday morning and an aide familiar with the meeting said both leaders were pleased with the progress made.

McConnell late told reporters that he had a “good meeting” with Schumer.
 
“I’m optimistic that very soon we’ll be able to reach an agreement,” he said.
 
The current plan is for the Senate to vote on a stand-alone, yearlong defense appropriations bill either Tuesday or Wednesday. That vote is expected to fail.

The vote is intended to demonstrate that a six-week spending measure expected from the House that would fund military programs for a full year does not have enough votes to pass the Senate, according to a senior Senate aide familiar with internal deliberations.

If Democrats block a stand-alone defense spending bill, showing that the House stopgap can’t pass the Senate, McConnell could amend the House resolution to include whatever deal he and Schumer work out in the next 24 hours.

If Senate leaders fail to finalize the deal within the next day, McConnell could amend the House resolution with a fallback option to keep federal agencies open.

Either way, leaders don’t expect another shutdown this week.

“There’s no appetite for continuing that type of approach. I sincerely hope I never face that again,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia Durbin opposes Saudi arms sale over missing journalist Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? MORE (Ill.).

A Senate Democratic aide said an immigration debate could begin on the Senate floor as soon as this week after the government funding resolution passes.

McConnell has yet to announce the component details of the base immigration bill that lawmakers will work off of.

Votes on amendments to that legislation are expected to take place next week.