By Molly K. Hooper - 09/06/13 11:01 PM EDT
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) predicted that the House will cancel its week-long recess in late September.
With government funding set to expire on Sept. 30 and the unexpected debate that Congress will have on granting President Obama authorization for use of force in Syria, Cole told The Hill on Friday that the current legislative calendar this month is likely to be extended.
“Unless we’ve got a continuing resolution done by then, I think you are going to have to (cancel recess), and even with that, again, we’re going to be losing time this week (on Syria). It's nobody’s fault, but you’ve got an international crisis and a decision that has to be made and it’s going to eat up days,” Cole said.
As it stands, the House is slated to be in session for a total of nine legislative days in September. Earlier on Friday, House leadership scheduled a vote for next week on a continuing resolution to continue funding the government.
Following a lengthy month-long August recess period, the fall agenda was already shaping up to be jam-packed with must-pass bills on major fiscal matters.
Prior to leaving Capitol Hill at the start of August, lawmakers predicted a stressful September return, due to internal GOP politics over forcing a government shutdown in order to try to defund Obamacare.
But with the imperative of debating a resolution to grant the president limited authority to use military force in Syria, Congress will have less time to focus on matters that lawmakers heard about in their districts the first few weeks of August: funding the government, extending the debt limit and immigration reform.
On Friday afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA.) – who sets the House calendar – alerted his colleagues that the debate over Syria may last up to two weeks. It was unclear however, if he intends to cancel the recess officially.
Cole said that he would prefer to have a speedy vote in the House on a Syria resolution so that the chamber could tackle a government funding bill.
The House GOP leadership has made no decision, however, on when to schedule that vote on Syria.
As a deputy vote-counter, Cole favors “sooner rather than later," but said that decision is "going to be made above my pay grade.”
Cole opposes the limited-strike resolution and predicts that it will fail overwhelmingly.