Party leaders Wednesday were increasingly optimistic about their chances to reach an agreement on a full-year fiscal 2011 spending bill.
The news comes as many lawmakers expressed frustration over the repeated use of continuing resolutions to fund the federal government. On Thursday, the Senate is expected to pass the stopgap spending bill the House approved earlier this week to keep the federal government running through April 8. The three-week extension would cut $6 billion from current funding levels.
The general consensus on Capitol Hill is that the latest continuing resolution will be the last for fiscal 2011. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) both stepped back from previous statements blaming the other party for the budget stalemate and, instead, expressed optimism that a deal could be struck on a long-term FY 2011 bill, reported CQ Today.
At the same time, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed Wednesday that any continuing resolutions funding the federal government beyond April 8 would include a measure providing funding for DOD for the remainder of FY 2011. The statement was intended to reassure Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who previously said he would offer an amendment to the stopgap bill being taken up this week to fund DOD through the end of the fiscal year, according to CQ.