US Lawmakers Hope to Avert Partial Government Shutdown

Posted December 15th, 2011 at 1:00 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. lawmakers are expressing optimism a deal can be reached to avert a partial government shutdown, as federal funding expires after Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said lawmakers are working Thursday to resolve differences on a bill to keep the government running and a measure to extend the payroll tax cut. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he was “confident and optimistic” both bills can be resolved.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Reid said that lawmakers have done enough “back and forth” and that now the sides are going to work to resolve some of the outstanding issues.

In the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner told reporters he is confident lawmakers will reach an agreement.

The stopgap funding for the federal government runs out Friday at midnight. If Congress fails to pass new funding, non-essential government services would be forced to halt.