Senate leader says he's confident of deal to keep government open after Dec. 22

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to the media following the Republicans weekly policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Thomson Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday he was confident the U.S. Congress would be able to reach an agreement to fund the government when the current spending bill ends on Dec. 22 and that there would be no forced government shutdown.

"There isn't any chance we are going to shut the government down. We're in discussions, not only on a cap deal, but also on the way forward on appropriations, McConnell told reporters. "The American people need not worry that there is going to be any kind of government shutdown."

But U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said a full-year defense funding bill with short-term money for other programs would fail in the Senate.

"Democrats will oppose any budget deal that would allow defense spending to increase while holding down domestic priorities," he said to reporters.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Writing by Katanga Johnson; Editing by David Alexander)

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