Congress once again is flirting with a partial government shutdown for the third time this year, and Republicans accused Democrats of blocking the critical year-end funding bill in order to use it as leverage in the payroll-tax-cut negotiations.
The current stopgap funding runs out Friday, and while those writing the replacement bill say it’s ready to go, Democratic leaders insisted it’s not done, though they acknowledged it could be wrapped up speedily if all sides wanted to.
“I think we could complete it very quickly if people sat down and focused on what we need to do to get out of here,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.
Mr. Reid said he will not allow a final full-year spending bill to pass until he and House Republicans work out an extension of the payroll tax cut into 2012.
House Republicans passed their tax cut bill Tuesday, but Senate Republicans objected to voting on that bill Wednesday morning, upping the brinkmanship...