“Our Democratic friends turned on a dime, reneged on the bipartisan agreement, and began demanding exactly the kinds of new poison pills and partisan policy changes that we all promised to omit,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader. “It’s not about the money. It’s not about compromising and getting to ‘yes.’ It’s about not wanting to take ‘yes’ for an answer.”
The gridlock over the measures funding the military, military construction and labor and health programs led to the failure of a procedural vote on Wednesday that would have allowed the Senate to vote on some of the legislation.
Still haunted by the 35-day government shutdown that ended earlier this year, lawmakers are eager to avoid another funding lapse. But the acrimony is such that some lawmakers have already begun to raise the prospect of a full-year stopgap spending bill if agreement cannot be found.
“That’s what you might wind up with if we don’t get past a standoff,” Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told reporters on Wednesday. “I think we’re talking to each other, but I don’t know if either one’s listening.”
Some of the bills, including the measures that would fund energy, agriculture, housing and transportation agencies and departments, among others, have advanced out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on unanimous votes of support, giving lawmakers optimism that at least some of the must-pass legislation will reach the president’s desk.
Mr. McConnell on Thursday also endorsed a $250 million grant in one of those bills that would help states fortify their election systems, calling it “exactly the kind of positive outcome that is possible when we stop posturing for the press.”
The stopgap legislation approved on Thursday would also replenish a program under the Commodity Credit Corporation, which has been providing aid to farmers affected by Mr. Trump’s trade war. But Democrats successfully included language requiring Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, to submit an itemized list of payments made by the program and projections for future payments by next year.