Congressional leaders expect funding deal to be unveiled Monday

Congressional leaders expect funding deal to be unveiled Monday
© Greg Nash

Congressional leaders expect the legislative text of a year-end omnibus spending bill to be released Monday, and they say it will likely be linked to a major deal on taxes.

“I understand the current projection is for the House to post the omnibus Monday and vote on it by Wednesday,” Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers feel pressure on guns Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting Murphy: Trump’s support for background check bill shows gun politics ‘shifting rapidly’ MORE (Texas) told reporters. “The goal is to wrap things up by Wednesday evening.”

He said the omnibus would be linked to a package extending expiring tax provisions. Senate negotiators say that package is likely to make several important tax breaks open-ended and place a moratorium on two ObamaCare taxes.

“They seem to be linked, although I can’t tell you whether it will be one vote or two votes, but clearly they’re part of the overall negotiations,” he added.

But Cornyn cautioned “there are a few outstanding issues that have not been resolved.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Finance: NAFTA defenders dig in | Tech pushes Treasury to fight EU on taxes | AT&T faces setback in merger trial | Dems make new case against Trump tax law | Trump fuels fight over gas tax What sort of senator will Mitt Romney be? Not a backbencher, even day one Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves MORE (R-Utah), who is involved in the talks, said, “sooner or later we come against the wall of having to act, and I think when that happens hopefully when that happens we can get this done. ... I think it's a matter of days." 

Cornyn’s statement mirrored a prediction made the day before by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers’s (R-Ky.), who said the text of the omnibus would be unveiled Monday to set up a vote Wednesday and meet Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE’s (R-Wis.) pledge to observe the three-day waiting period for major bills.

Earlier in the day, the Senate approved a stopgap bill extending government funding until Dec. 16.

Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (D-Md.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, said negotiators are making progress on whittling down policy amendments.

"We were down to 42," she said. "I think we could squeeze it to 35."

The emerging timeline would give Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) less than a day to overcome the upper chamber’s procedural hurdles and hold a final vote. 

Senate leaders, however, are confident they’ll get their colleagues to sign off because many are eager to return home for the holidays.

McConnell on Wednesday morning hailed this congressional session as one of the most productive “in a long time.”

And the chamber’s presidential candidates, notably Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE (Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE (Texas), don’t want to spend too much time away from battleground states.

"I think the effort is going to [be] to try to finish middle of next week," Hatch said. Asked if the Wednesday deadline gives the Senate enough time to get through its procedural hurdles, he said, "I think so. We may be dumb, but we're not as dumb as people think." 

Senate sources on Thursday said the chances of reaching a deal on a major tax deal were greater than 50 percent.

They say it would eliminate expiration dates for the research and development tax credit and the Section 179 small-business expensing deduction, as well as core tax breaks from President Obama’s 2009 fiscal stimulus plan. Those are the expansions of the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit and the American opportunity tax credit for college expenses.

Senate sources say the deal will also likely include a two-year moratorium of ObamaCare’s “Cadillac tax” on expensive insurance plans and the medical device tax. 

Jordain Carney contributed.