GOP mulls three-month spending stopgap

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Congressional Republicans are considering a three-month continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government as a backup plan should they fail to reach a deal with Democrats by year’s end, according to a key appropriator.
“I could certainly a see a short-term [resolution] until the end of the year, and I think they’re even planning into early February, but it’s not the preferred solution,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
“The preferred solution is to get the work done this calendar year,” he added.
{mosads}Congress must pass either a stopgap measure or new spending legislation by Dec. 8 or the government will shut down. But with the complicated tax-reform debate taking center stage, spending negotiations may take a back seat. 
“Some people would like a CR and would like to move to next September, but I’m a regular order guy, if we could get there,” said Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Republicans said they will unveil their tax bill Thursday and have set themselves a tight deadline to pass a bill in the House by Thanksgiving and have it signed by Christmas.
With just five weeks between Nov. 1 and the spending deadline and no agreed-upon top-line spending numbers for the year, Republicans will be hard-pressed to reach a deal before a government shutdown deadline.
“This normally takes about a month from the time you get a number to work through the negotiation to a final bill,” said Cole.
Democrats, for their part, say they are not interested in putting off the spending fight, where they have the leverage to promote their agenda. 
“Democrats will oppose any CR that isn’t just to finish the paperwork/wrap up a deal,” said a Democratic leadership aide.
Republicans need at least eight Democratic Senate votes to pass either spending bills or another stopgap continuing resolution.
Tags Richard Shelby Tom Cole

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