Andres Kudacki, Associated Press
FILE - Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at a press briefing at the Hilton Midtown hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he can't rule out a possible government shutdown later this week if Congress deadlocks on another temporary Washington spending bill, but thinks it's unlikely.

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Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Mnuchin says he expects that lawmakers will understand the need to reach bipartisan agreement on another short-term funding extension to avoid "sending government workers home for Christmas."

Congress in early December passed a two-week stopgap bill that keeps the government running through this Friday. That measure bought time for negotiations on Republicans' signature tax bill, but GOP talks with Democrats haven't been going as smoothly on the budget.

Lingering budget issues include disaster aid, children's health and the potential addition of subsidies for low-income people participating in the Affordable Care Act.