Moving to avoid any threat of a government shutdown before the Christmas holiday season, Republicans on Capitol Hill said Thursday that they would punt their unfinished budget work into 2017, which may give them additional opportunities to press ahead with the agenda of a new Trump Administration.
"The American people voted for change and we are ready to get to work," said Speaker Paul Ryan, as Republicans decided they would rather negotiate with Donald Trump in the White House, rather than President Obama.
The new incoming government would like to have a say-so on how spending is to be allocated in 2017," Ryan told reporters after a morning sit down with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence.
"If they want us to put it off until March, then we should," said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). "It's going to be the budget that they're working off, too."
In their meeting with Pence, Republicans were told by the next Vice President to "buckle up," and get ready for a very busy work schedule next year.
"I think the pace is going to be grueling, and the excitement throughout the country for getting it right is going to be high," said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH).
But the GOP was not ready to issue a road map on what gets dealt with first.
"We are just now working with the incoming administration," Speaker Ryan told reporters, "so it's a little premature to get into what day, what bill is coming up for a vote."
By holding off on their budget work for next year, this decision may allow the GOP to start making substantial budget changes earlier than expected, because it could apply to 2017 funding, rather than waiting until the next budget year.
Congress will be gone next week for Thanksgiving; GOP leaders hope to swiftly wrap up work in early December, and then start getting ready for the New Year, and the new administration.