Democrats would likely resist major changes to federal employee benefits, and Cole said any budget deal will require Democratic votes to make up for the House Republicans who will vote against it.
In recent days, some Democrats have said a deal should include an extension of unemployment benefits that are set to expire this month.
“They're not getting extended without getting paid for,'' Cole said. “What would be the offset?”
Extending the benefits would cost an estimated $25 billion and paying for it would require finding savings elsewhere in the budget or raising revenue.
Cole is rooting for a deal in part so Congress can get back to its normal budget work.
It has been four years, he said, since both houses of Congress have passed a budget.
Restoring the “normal rhythms” of the budget and spending process could also restore some trust and good will among lawmakers who need to work together on the “small things” before they can tackle major issues such as immigration reform, Cole said.