Senate GOP, White House reschedule government funding meeting

Senate GOP, White House reschedule government funding meeting
© Greg Nash

Top Senate Republicans have rescheduled a budget meeting with Trump administration officials for Wednesday, citing a scheduling conflict for the postponed gathering.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEXCLUSIVE: Trump on reparations: 'I don't see it happening' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump issues order to bring transparency to health care prices | Fight over billions in ObamaCare payments heads to Supreme Court Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThis week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request Congress unlikely to reach deal on Trump border bill before break GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks MORE (R-Ala.) had been set to meet Tuesday with White House acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions Top Democrat accuses White House of obstructing review related to Trump-Putin communications MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinDemocratic lawmaker calls Trump a 'moron' for his handling of Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need Congress to approve Iran strikes in interview with The Hill | New sanctions hit Iran's supreme leader | Schumer seeks to delay defense bill amid Iran tensions | Esper's first day as acting Pentagon chief Treasury inspector general to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills MORE, and Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought.

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An aide confirmed that the meeting had been rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Lawmakers had hoped to use the meeting to come up with a plan to avoid a government shutdown starting Oct. 1 — the beginning of the new fiscal year — and to allow the Senate Appropriations Committee to start moving government funding bills. 

One snag to moving appropriations bills is that lawmakers and the White House have not yet reached a deal to raise the defense and nondefense budget caps and avoid across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration. The caps agreement would be used to set the top-line numbers for Congress's government funding bills.

Lawmakers have to pass 12 appropriations bills, either individually or as part of a package, by the end of September. So far, the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed none.

"Caps number is what we would like to get, but short of that ... I will bring up that short of the caps number we need to move forward" on funding bills, Shelby said earlier Tuesday.

The decision to potentially start moving appropriations bills comes after talks about a deal to lift the defense and nondefense budget caps appeared to stall after a meeting last month with top congressional leaders and Mulvaney, Mnuchin and Vought.

McConnell had initially indicated he thought a deal could come together quickly, but Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems McConnell vows to 'vigorously' oppose Moore's Senate bid Pelosi: Trump delay on Harriet Tubman is 'an insult to the hopes of millions' MORE (D-N.Y.) acknowledged they were still far apart on the top-line number for nondefense spending — a major priority for Democrats.

"I still believe that a spending caps deal is to everybody's advantage. Everybody. The president, the Senate, the House, both parties. We expect those talks to resume, and we're hopeful we'll be able to reach an agreement so we can have some kind of ordinary process that could fund the government of the United States. So, I remain optimistic," McConnell told reporters last week.