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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 SchumerChuck SchumerOn The Money: How demand is outstripping supply and hampering recovery | Montana pulls back jobless benefits | Yellen says higher rates may be necessary Senate Democrats announce B clean bus plan NYC 24-hour subway service resumes May 17 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 McConnellSchumer works to balance a divided caucus's demands Lobbying world The Memo: Biden moves into new phase of COVID-19 fight 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 DurbinDick DurbinSchumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction Senators push to allow for remote voting during national crisis 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.