A top House lawmaker suggested Tuesday that Congress might weigh another short-term spending bill in order to avoid another partial government shutdown in early 2014.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said he thinks House Speaker John Boehner is considering an interim bill so lawmakers don't have the issue hanging over their heads over the holidays.
As part of the short-term budget deal inked in October, current government funding expires on Jan. 15. A bipartisan group of negotiators is supposed to hammer out a tentative deal by Dec. 13.
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, though, said the Ohio Republican is not willing to talk about such scenarios until there is resolution to the budget talks between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash.
They are trying to work out a general budget agreement for all government spending. Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and the chairs of all appropriations subcommittees (which control the purse strings for the 12 distinct sectors of the federal government) sent a letter to Ryan and Murray on Monday, imploring them to reach an agreement so they could give appropriators a "top-line" spending number for the discretionary side of the ledger.
Ryan and Murray have until mid-December to forge an agreement. Otherwise, the appropriators could be on their own trying to fund the federal government right after the holidays as lawmakers scramble once again to sidestep a partial government shutdown.
"Nobody wants to have a government shutdown again," said one senior House GOP aide. "But I'm not sure anyone knows how to get out of it yet."
A short-term spending bill could have consequences for Boehner, as the speaker could have trouble corralling the votes for an interim measure.
Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.