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 McConnellMitch McConnellSenate healthcare bill appears headed for failure Talk of Trump pardons reverberates on Sunday shows Trump backers eye GOP primary challenges for Flake, Heller 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 CruzTed CruzGOP wrestles with soaring deductibles in healthcare bill Cruz: Tax reform chances ‘drop significantly’ if healthcare fails Ex-CBO directors defend against GOP attacks on ObamaCare analysis 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 RubioMexican politicians have a new piñata: Donald Trump Bush ethics lawyer: Congress must tell Trump not to fire Mueller The private alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program  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 ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West 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 CornynTrump launches all-out assault on Mueller probe Senators who have felt McCain's wrath talk of their respect for him Senate heads to new healthcare vote with no clear plan 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 LeeMike LeeSenate healthcare bill appears headed for failure Small farmers push for USDA reforms Trump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana 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 CollinsSenate healthcare bill appears headed for failure Collins: Trump should not comment on special counsel GOP wrestles with soaring deductibles in healthcare bill MORE (R-Maine) and Republican Sens. Mark KirkMark KirkMcConnell: Senate to try to repeal ObamaCare next week GOP senator: Not 'appropriate' to repeal ObamaCare without replacement GOP's repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate MORE (Ill.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana Pro-ObamaCare group targets key senators in new ads The GOP Wonder Women who saved healthcare for 22 million 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 PaulRand PaulSenate healthcare bill appears headed for failure Talk of Trump pardons reverberates on Sunday shows Paul says president likely has authority to pardon himself 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.