The federal government moved another day closer to a brief weekend shutdown with congressional Democrats and Republicans still struggling for agreement to pass a stopgap funding bill before Friday's deadline.

Senate leaders in both parties also haven't fully turned back a threat by a group of conservative Republicans to tie up the vote on a temporary government funding measure over their objections to federal Covid-19 vaccine and testing mandates.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, gave repeated assurances throughout the day on Wednesday that negotiations were making progress and a deal was near. "I think we're going to be OK," McConnell told reporters.

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