Senate GOP sets legislative deadline to ensure proper review of lame-duck bills

"We want to ensure adequate review of all legislation so that we may support final passage in a prompt manner," the committee wrote.

The letter says senators should clear bills they want passed this year with the Steering Committee before the deadline. "We will regrettably be unable to grant our consent for items submitted after this date," the letter states.

It was signed by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Cornyn (Texas), Jim DeMint (S.C.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and David Vitter (La.).

Recently, Senate Republicans have been increasingly wary that the Obama administration and House Republican leaders are working on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff that some senators may not support. While a deal on taxes and spending is unlikely to be hotlined, the GOP deadline is generally meant to make it less likely that any surprise or objectionable legislation can be rammed quickly through the Senate.

On Thursday, Sessions, the Senate Budget Committee ranking member, demanded that the fiscal-cliff talks be held in the open because keeping them secret gives President Obama an advantage.

"All this secrecy allows the president to position himself by saying he's for a balanced plan," Sessions said. "This process needs to be taken out of the shadows."

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