The Senate returns for what should be its last week of work before the Christmas break, and the big-ticket items are the budget and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The budget deal brokered by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and her House counterpart, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), would end $63 billion of sequester spending cuts, and add in new fees and some federal savings to cut the budget deficit by $23 billion more in 2014.
Similarly, the House passed a last-ditch NDAA bill 350-69, which also bodes well for Senate passage. The bill is a new version of the NDAA that was developed over the last week or so, after it became clear that fighting in the Senate over amendments would stall passage until sometime in 2014.
After that, the Senate will try to confirm Janet Yellen as the new chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. Other nominations are also up throughout the week.
Below is a closer look at the week ahead:
The Senate will start work at 1 p.m. but has no votes planned. Instead, Democrats will file motions to end debate on the House budget, the amended H.J.Res. 59, and the NDAA, the amended H.R. 3304.
The Senate will begin in the afternoon, and at 5:30 p.m., it has three nomination votes scheduled.
One is a vote to confirm Anne Patterson as the next assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs. After that, the Senate will vote to end debate on the nomination of Jeh Johnson to be the next Secretary of Homeland Security; if that succeeds, that vote will be followed by a vote on his confirmation.
Other procedural votes could happen Monday related to nominations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he wants to clear the nomination of Yellen this week, though that is likely later in the week.
The House has no more work scheduled for 2013, but it will hold a pro forma session in the morning at which it may vote to adjourn until 2014.
Reid said the Senate would deal with the budget plan on this day.
Reid said the Senate would deal with the NDAA on this day.
These days may be used to advance Yellen and other nominations.