Inside Mitch McConnell's plan to avert a government shutdown

McConnell’s top priority is to keep tax talks out of the spending and highway negotiations that Schumer and the Democrats want to pack into one big ball. That way the two discussions can’t bleed into each other with the likely result a tax hike will be used to pay for more spending.
 
“Two separate issues,” McConnell said at a Thursday press conference, trying to put a kibosh on Schumer’s efforts. “There’s been a lot of focus on going to a territorial system. I might well be enthusiastic about that, but I view it as a totally separate track unrelated to the highway issue.”
 
McConnell wants the highway bill to move on a separate track and go through a conference negotiation with a companion House bill.
 
Democrats believe they have more leverage if it gets lumped into the year-end budget summit.
 
“From Schumer’s perspective, as long as there’s enough chaos and bedlam and more pieces are on the table, Democrats have more leverage,” said a Senate Republican aide.