By Peter Schroeder, Erik Wasson and Vicki Needham - 05/18/12 08:08 PM EDT
Four choices are on the table: a 30-day extension that passed the House on Thursday, a seven-month extension sponsored by Sen. David VitterDavid VitterDavid Duke gets debate slot in La. Senate race GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race MORE (R-La.), a five-year extension passed by the Senate Banking Committee, or an amended Banking Committee bill that the committee may produce Monday.
Key players include Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidHeck's rejection of Trump imperils Nevada Senate race Pelosi blasts GOP leaders for silence on Trump Latinos build a wall between Trump and White House in new ad MORE (D-Nev.) and Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnRyan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight The Trail 2016: Words matter Ex-Sen. Coburn: I won’t challenge Trump, I’ll vote for him MORE (R-Okla.), who has been blocking the seven-month extension in order to get some immediate reforms. A likely outcome could be passage of a short-term bill in the Senate next week and an agreement on how to consider the five-year bill in June or July. The House bill has some policy riders that the Senate may strike out in order to have a clean extension.
Insurers and real estate agents have "flooded" Capital Hill in recent days demanding a five-year reform bill that raises premiums to put the program on a sounder fiscal footing and reduce the deficit. An added wrinkle is that some Democrats want to use NFIP changes in any year-end deficit deal. Passing it now would take $4.9 billion off the table, but sources are mum on whether this is a factor in the talks.
Meanwhile, the Senate still has some work to do on an Iran sanctions package. Leaving town on Thursday without a resolution, a possible compromise could be in the offing early next week.
The final hurdle is over whether to add language reiterating that the United States is prepared to use force to stop any nuclear weapons program getting off the ground in Iran.
Several Republicans argued on the floor that adding a "use of force" provision reflects President Obama's policy that all options are on the table when it comes to Iran exploring nuclear weapons capability and a provision must be included along with the economic sanctions.
On Thursday, the Senate Banking panel will discuss a measure to help homeowners with government-backed loans refinance into lower interest rates.
The measure, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Bob MenendezRobert MenendezWarren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal Dem senator: Louisiana Republican 'found Jesus' on flood funding MORE (N.J.) and Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCalifornia House Republicans facing tougher headwinds House and Senate water bills face billion difference Boxer, Feinstein endorse Kamala Harris in two-Dem Senate race MORE (Calif.), is attracting industry support and several Republicans have signaled they may support the bill with some tweaks. Bill Emerson, chief executive of Quicken Loans, and Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, give their opinions to lawmakers.
A subcommittee from that panel will spend Wednesday discussing America’s economic relationship with China.
A Senate Appropriations subcommittee is slated to mark up its State Department bill Tuesday. House Appropriators passed a bill cutting $5 billion from the budget, including for the war on terror, on Thursday. That bill contained controversial gun and anti-abortion riders, including reinstating the global gag rule that would prevent non-governmental organizations funded by the United States fom discussing abortion with clients.
The Senate’s taxwriters will be talking healthcare on Wednesday, as the Finance Committee will be talking innovations in medicine with industry professionals.