GOP lawmaker says Congress won’t meet Dec. 8 spending deadline

Greg Nash

Congress is unlikely to have a deal to pass an omnibus spending bill by Dec. 8, and will likely need to agree to a short-term measure to prevent a government shutdown, says Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a key member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Republican leadership is huddling with Democrats and the administration to agree on overall spending levels for the coming year. Without an agreement soon on those top-line numbers, Cole said it is unlikely the Dec. 8 deadline will be met.

“I don’t see how it’s possible. I think the end of the year is the best we can do. If we’re getting the numbers after Thanksgiving, there’s just not enough time,” he said.

{mosads}He said the real deadline for the larger omnibus is probably Christmas.

Cole said leadership may get a deal on the top-line figures after Thanksgiving, but that would not leave enough time to agree to other details over the bill to meet the Dec. 8 deadline.

“If we hit that, we would do an extension probably to the end of the year,” he said, referring to a shorter-term spending bill that would prevent a shutdown.

He said leaders “don’t want to go into next year if they can avoid it” with a stopgap spending bill.

A senior GOP aide said that even the Christmas deadline could be untenable.

“That is an unrealistic timeline. It will take AT LEAST a solid legislative month once we get a topline, and that would be WITHOUT the intervening holidays, or pausing the process due a having to create/draft/consider a hurricane supplemental,” the aide said in an email.

The spending debate is likely to be complicated.

Democrats see the measure as an opportunity to pass some of their priorities, such as a solution for “Dreamers,” young immigrants who were brought the country illegally as children.

President Trump has said a fix on that immigration issue would need to be paired with border security measures.

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