This week: Congress faces highway deadline

Congress has until Friday to renew funding for transportation projects ahead of its Thanksgiving recess next week.

House and Senate negotiators have been hammering out the differences between each chamber’s respective long-term highway funding bills. 

Lawmakers expect to unveil a final version this week to meet the Nov. 20 deadline set by the most recent short-term extension. If all goes as planned, it’ll mark the first long-term highway bill sent to a president’s desk in years.

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The House earlier this month passed its version, which lasts for six years but contains only three years’ worth of guaranteed road and transit funding. Senators, meanwhile, similarly passed a six-year bill with only three years’ worth of pay-fors.

Conference negotiations between the two chambers are expected to be short. Congress doesn’t have much time left: Lawmakers plan to depart Washington for the holiday by Thursday afternoon. 

In case the long-term bill doesn’t pass in time, the House might vote on a short-term highway funding extension early in the week to avoid missing the deadline. 

Sanctuary cities

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.) could tee up a vote on legislation to increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who reenter the country after being deported. 

Senate Democratic aides told The Hill that the Republican leader has informed Democrats that he could set up a vote on "Kate's Law," though McConnell's office said that nothing has been scheduled. 

The proposal is named after Kathryn Steinle, who was shot and killed in San Francisco allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times. 

McConnell fast-tracked legislation last month from Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz calls out O'Rourke for supporting NFL players' anthem protests Beto O’Rourke: Term limits can help keep politicians from turning into a--holes Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' MORE (R-Texas), who is running for president, which allowed it to be placed on the Senate calendar where it could be brought up for a vote. 

The legislation, which is backed by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP looks to injure Nelson over Russia comments Rubio’s pro-family, conservative family leave policy promotes stability Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries MORE (R-Fla.), would create a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for any undocumented immigrant who reenters the country after they were previously convicted of an aggravated felony or of illegally reentering the country twice. 

Cruz tried to get unanimous consent to pass his legislation earlier this month but was blocked by Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP’s midterm strategy takes shape Battle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest Senate Democrats should stop playing politics on Kavanaugh MORE (D-Nev.). 

ObamaCare 

The Senate could take up legislation that would repeal parts of ObamaCare before leaving town for a scheduled week-long Thanksgiving break.  

While Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Rand Paul to ask Trump to lift sanctions on Russian leaders MORE (R-Texas) has said leadership could bring up the legislation the week before Thanksgiving, it's looking increasingly likely to get pushed into December. McConnell's office added, separately, that the legislation hasn't been scheduled.

Republicans are using the reconciliation process—which blocks a likely Democratic filibuster by only requiring the legislation to overcome a simple majority vote—to send the repeal bill to the president's desk by the end of the year.

But the move, including a push to tie defunding Planned Parenthood to the package, is dividing Senate Republicans. 

Sens. Cruz, Rubio and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work MORE (R-Utah) are pledging to vote against any legislation that stops short of a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. 

If the three senators don't back the measure, McConnell would need every other Republican lawmaker to vote for it in order to get the legislation through the upper chamber. 

But moderate Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWhite House weighs clawing back State, foreign aid funding The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Overnight Defense: Pompeo creates 'action group' for Iran policy | Trump escalates intel feud | Report pegs military parade cost at M MORE (R-Maine) and Republican Sens. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThis week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill Trump attending Senate GOP lunch Tuesday High stakes as Trump heads to Hill MORE (Ill.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Trump nominee won't say if he supports funding agency he was selected to run MORE (Alaska), who are both up for reelection next year, have balked at tying in Planned Parenthood. 

Separately, some Republicans are voicing concerns about including a repeal of the Medicaid expansion. Thirty states, including some with Republican governors, agreed to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act, which extended healthcare to millions of people. 

Auditing the Fed

The House is slated to consider multiple financial services measures this week, including a bill to overhaul the Federal Reserve.

Rep. Bill Huizenga’s (R-Mich.) legislation would, among other things, require an audit of the Federal Reserve and clarify the “blackout period” regarding when agency employees can speak publicly about policies.

Auditing the Federal Reserve was a pet issue championed by former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), whose son, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHillicon Valley: Trump escalates feud with intel critics | Tesla shares fall after troubling Musk interview | House panel considers subpoena for Twitter's Jack Dorsey | Why Turkish citizens are breaking their iPhones Overnight Defense: Trump cancels military parade, blames DC for cost | DC mayor hits back | Pentagon warns China 'likely' training for strikes against US | Turkey refuses to release US pastor On Russia we need diplomacy, not just sanctions MORE (R-Ky.), has since taken it on in the name of increasing transparency.

But some lawmakers, particularly Democrats, warn that auditing the Federal Reserve would politicize the agency’s monetary policy decisions. 

Another measure on tap would suspend the current compensation packages for the chief executive officers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bill is expected to be considered under a fast-track process requiring a two-thirds majority, which indicates it’s expected to pass overwhelmingly.