Under pay-as-you-go rules, a patch could be extended through 2010 without having to offset its cost.
Hoyer did not rule out the prospect of a patch eventually being added to the extender bill. He said that Ways and Means Chairman Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) and Senate Finance Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusThe mysterious sealed opioid report fuels speculation Lobbying World Even Steven: How would a 50-50 Senate operate? MORE (D-Mont.) are working together to create a cohesive package that can pass both chambers.
"I've urged Senator Baucus and Congressman Levin to try to come to an agreement before we pass bills so we will have some assurance that both houses can pass the same bill in a relative short period of time," Hoyer said.
The legislation is expected to extend several tax breaks that expired last year, resuscitate benefits for the unemployed, address the so called 'doc fix,' and extend Build America Bonds. The bill might also include funds for summer programs.
A major sticking point with the bill is how to offset its cost, which some estimate could be approximately $180 billion.
Benefits for the unemployed are not expected to be offset, but Hoyer said tax-writers are looking to pay for more than just the tax breaks that are included in the bill.
"Summer jobs we think will be offset," he said, adding, "There may be other things in there, other matters will be offset. And that mix is being discussed between the 2 committees."