A closer look at… Saturday

While the debate will be short, it may also be pointed. Earlier Friday, a key House Democrat specifically asked Republicans not to call up the Reid bill under a suspension of the rules in order to ensure failure. Suspension votes are usually reserved for non-controversial bills, but House Republicans this year have occasionally called up extremely controversial bill under suspension, which has aggravated Democrats.

In a display of the full range of the House, members will also vote on three bills to name post offices, H.R. 1975, H.R. 1843, and H.R. 2062, which should pass easily under suspension.

The Senate meets at 1 p.m. Saturday to take up Reid's plan, but no vote is expected until Sunday. Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could not reach agreement Friday night for an earlier vote, which McConnell said puts the Senate in the awkward position of having the House vote on the Senate plan first.

The Senate is scheduled to stay in until at least 8 p.m. Saturday, and leader remarks are expected at the start of the session. Reid hinted the Senate could vote at 1 a.m. Sunday on his plan, but a specific vote time is still unclear.

Late Friday, Reid amended his bill to give President Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own, subject only to congressional disapproval by a two-thirds vote in each House. By late Friday, it was unclear whether this change would attract Republican support as Reid hoped, or whether the change would complicate House plans to take up the Reid bill Saturday.

House Republicans said several times Friday that they envision something like a conference committee to work out a compromise agreement, although some House Republicans openly questioned whether the Senate would be able to approve Reid's plan or any other plan. Senate failure on Sunday could strengthen the hands of House Republicans.

Either way, House and Senate negotiators are known to be talking about a final compromise that can be approved by Congress and sent to President Obama before the end of next Tuesday.

-- This post was updated at 11:16 p.m. to add details about the Senate bill and again at 8:42 a.m. Saturday.