The White House and congressional leaders are expected to begin discussing a longer-term budget agreement shortly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
“We'd like to settle the topline (budget total) for both years so that next year, we could have a regular appropriations process,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.
“The president and Speaker (John) Boehner and I spoke about getting started in the discussions last week, and I would expect them to start very soon,” McConnell said.
The Senate Tuesday was wrapping up action on a stopgap spending bill, and the House of Representatives is expected to approve the agreement Wednesday. If no legislation is passed by midnight Wednesday, parts of the government could shut down. Many conservatives objected to a refusal to defund Planned Parenthood, but a coalition of Republicans and Democrats appears likely to support a budget without that provision.
Boehner plans to leave office at the end of October. It is unclear what role his successor would play in any budget talks.
Such talks could be difficult. Democrats are eager to lift spending restrictions on domestic programs, while many Republicans want to lift caps on defense spending.