The 105th Congress should miss its targeted adjournment date of next Friday, Oct. 9, by only a day or two, although that will mean working part of the Columbus Day weekend, according to both House and Senate Republican leadership aides. But the aides said they still hope to adjourn in time for Columbus Day, Oct. 12.
On the House side, an aide to Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said, "I'm sure we'll go into the weekend," while aides to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said Lott has told Senators "to be available to work that weekend."
Lott staffers said the majority leader does not want to work into the week of Oct. 12, although they left open the possibility that Congress may need to work that Monday, which is Columbus Day. Said one Lott aide, "Everyone knows what decisions have to be made. ... It's just a question of when they are made."
The Senate will be in pro forma session this Saturday, but the House will wrap up its work by Friday afternoon this week.
Regardless of whether the 105th Congress adjourns next Friday or as late as early the following week, House and Senate GOP leaders have similar priorities.
Topping the list, of course, are the must-do fiscal 1999 appropriations bills, the thorniest of which are expected to be rolled into an omnibus spending measure.
As of today, the federal government is being funded with a continuing resolution that lasts through next Friday, and while few people expect Congress to adjourn then, leadership aides on both sides of the Capitol said talk of extending the current continuing resolution beyond next Friday is "very premature."
On the Senate side, a Lott aide said Senate priorities to finish before heading home to campaign are the tax cut bill, financial services modernization, bankruptcy reform, Internet taxation, and securities litigation reform.
An aide to Armey said the House's priorities are financial services modernization, bankruptcy reform, tax cuts, the religious persecution bill and public housing reform.