Ryan hints at short-term spending bill

Ryan hints at short-term spending bill
© Camille Fine

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) on Tuesday said Republicans may need a short-term spending bill to prevent a government shutdown on Dec. 9.

Ryan said the House GOP's goal was to pass a long-term spending bill by the end of the year, but suggested lawmakers may not be able to do so by a Dec. 8 deadline.

“We’re not talking about going into next year, we’re talking about getting it done this year,” Ryan said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

“We might need a little more time to let the appropriators write their bill,” he added.

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The government will shut down on Dec. 9 without a new spending measure.

Other Republicans have suggested a stopgap measure will probably be needed to buy more time to negotiate a longer-term deal.

With tax reform taking the bulk of the Congress's attention, efforts to hammer out a spending deal with Democrats have moved slowly.

Republicans will need the support of at least eight Democrats in the Senate to approve either a spending bill or a short-term extension. For Democrats, the spending battle is one of a few leverage points to advance their priorities, such as passing an immigration fix for immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as young children.

Republicans need Democratic support to postpone the deadline as well, meaning Democrats could make demands and threaten a shutdown over the short-term extension.

Democrats, however, seem unlikely to force a fight on a short-term spending measure if they feel there is progress toward a larger deal a few weeks later. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a recent press conference that she opposed a longer-term continuing resolution, but wouldn’t rule out a brief extension.

“Sometimes there’s another week tacked on just to do the legislation, that’s a different story,” she said.

Even with a few extra weeks, Congress will have a lot on its plate.

Republicans want to pass a final version of their tax-reform bill before Christmas, putting the self-imposed tax deadline around the same time as the new spending deadline.