Wednesday: Back to the Senate for a deal

Conservative House Republicans won't be fans of the Senate deal. At last check, it would open the government through mid-January and extend its ability to borrow into February.

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It would call for a budget conference in which Democrats would likely call for tax increases, and with no guarantees of any new commitment to chop spending.

And it wouldn't cut health insurance subsidies for congressional staffers or eliminate ObamaCare's medical device tax.

There is still some chance House Republicans come up with another plan Wednesday. Some conservatives were considering a package that would give them a chance this year to fight ObamaCare's birth control mandate.

But there were signs that many Republicans weren't willing to risk the consequences of missing the debt-ceiling deadline, which the Treasury Department set at Oct. 17. If that sentiment dominates, the House might have no choice but to hold its nose, call up the Senate measure and pass it on the backs of House Democrats and some number of House Republicans.

The Senate, however, still has to finalize the deal and pass it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) didn't file a motion to end debate on the bill Tuesday night, which means that move could come Wednesday.

If the process drags on like usual, that would set up the first procedural vote Friday, after the Oct. 17 deadline. That could put Congress on track to approve a final fix by early next week.

The Senate could decide to hasten the process and finish it up this week, but that would take agreement from Republicans, and it's unclear if members like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have an interest in using delaying tactics.

The Senate starts Wednesday at noon, at which point anyone who's anyone will be listening closely to hear what Reid says about whether the deal is done and how he wants to move it ahead.

The House starts at 10 a.m. for morning speeches, then noon for legislative work. But as of late Tuesday night, there was no work scheduled other than "possible consideration" of legislation related to the debt ceiling and 2014 spending.

As of late Tuesday, the House appears to be done passing its "mini" spending bills for 2014.

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