Approving the bill would bring a much-needed sense of order to federal spending this year. The government is operating on a continuing spending resolution through November 18, about when the deficit reduction "supercommittee" is expected to either make recommendations for cutting more than $1 trillion more in spending, or fail to reach any deal and threaten cuts to defense programs, Medicare and Medicaid.

House and Senate aides say that at this point, they don't expect the supercommittee to make cuts to discretionary spending, which is giving them the confidence to move on some of the discretionary spending bills for the rest of the year.

With about four weeks left, supercommittee members are offering few indications that they are anywhere close to a deal. Partisan fighting over how to find spending cuts may be the reason — Republicans this week suggested cutting financial reforms in the Dodd-Frank law and repealing the healthcare law, while Democrats pushed for economic stimulus measures to be part of any deal.


The Senate has little else on its agenda next week other than the spending bill, after having failed to advance a version of President Obama's jobs plan. Senate Democrats have offered no indication that they might try again, and with the House out, Obama's "American Jobs Act" will likely be moved off the front burner.

This week, House Democrats called on the GOP to take up the jobs bill in the House, but to no avail.

House Democrats also indicated they would continue to push the House GOP to allow a vote on a China currency bill, which passed the Senate but is again something Republicans are not inclined to raise.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:


The Senate meets at 2 p.m. to start work on H.R. 2112, the vehicle for the Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science, and Transportation/HUD appropriations bills.

The Senate is expected to spend most of the week on this bill, but may not conduct any legislative work on Friday.