The Senate meets at 2 p.m. to take up a "minibus" appropriations bill funding the departments of Agriculture/FDA, Commerce Justice Science, and Transportation/HUD in 2012.

The Senate is using H.R. 2112, the Agriculture appropriations bill already passed by the House, as a vehicle for the minibus bill.

The entire $182 billion spending package is consistent with the summer debt-ceiling agreement, which sets discretionary spending at $1.043 trillion in 2012. Staffers said they feel confident this package can be approved by Congress, and that the deficit-reduction "supercommittee" will not interfere with these discretionary spending amounts.

The Senate is expected to consider the spending bill for most of the week week; the House is out and returns next week.