The Senate is out, and the House meets at 11 a.m. for a brief pro forma session.

Next week, the House will take up extensions of the expiring payroll tax cut, expiring unemployment benefits and the Medicare physician reimbursement rate, in addition to a bill keeping the government open past Dec. 16.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Thursday that the House would remain in session until these items are completed, and warned of possible weekend work.

The Senate meets at 2 p.m. Monday to take up nominations, and will of course need to either approve or alter (or, possibly, fail to find support for) any of the key end-of-the-year bills the House approves.