Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told House Speaker John Boehner he would hold up a must-pass spending bill to keep the government funded until both sides negotiate a compromise on the payroll tax cut bill, according to two senior House GOP leadership aides.
Reid, D-Nevada, did not give any details on what kind of compromise he was proposing, the aides said. Reid's office did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Tuesday that Democrats and Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have already reached a deal on funding the government through 2012. The government runs out of money on Dec. 16.
"They've shook hands and it's done," Boehner said. "And I'm hopeful that the Senate leaders will come to their senses, allow members to sign this report, and to move forward. There's no reason to hold this bill up," Boehner said at a morning news conference.
At almost the same time across the Capitol, Reid confirmed he and Speaker Boehner spoke Monday.
"I said to him as serious as I could we're not going to finish the work of our country this year unless we work together," Reid said. "You can't pass anything in the House unless you get Democratic votes. Because anything you pass with strictly Republican votes fails over here. And over here we can't pass anything unless we get Republican votes. It's a fact of life."
"If there's talk of a shutdown, it's on their head," one of the GOP aides said, referring to Senate Democrats.
Asked about a potential government shutdown, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said, "that's always a risk" and then blamed Republicans for "politicizing" spending bills.
Hoyer, D-Maryland, said it's possible there will need to be a short term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown if the two sides don't reach a deal on all of the remaining issues, which he described as the payroll tax cut, unemployment assistance, the spending bill, and the so-called "doc fix."
"One would think there would have to be a CR (continuing resolution) at that point in time, but I don't want to anticipate that. I'm still hopeful that we'll get this done," Hoyer said.
Hoyer said there was some concern on the part of Democrats that the House Republicans would pass the spending bill and then leave town, but he said Boehner has assured him the House will not adjourn until they pass the payroll tax cut and unemployment assistance.