The Senate on Wednesday advanced a measure that holds at bay the scheduled pay cut while extending several health benefits for the unemployed. Under one provision in the bill, Medicare payments would hold steady until June 1.
A final vote could come on Friday, with the House poised to vote quickly after.
Senate Democrats spent most of Thursday dispensing with amendments offered by Republicans that would reshape the short-term extenders bill so that it's fiscally offset by budget savings elsewhere.
At deadline, it was unclear if the CMS had issued guidance to its contractors on how to handle physician claims made during this period. Previously, the CMS has told its contractors to hold claims until Congress extends the deadline.
The bill also extends until May 1 premium assistance for the jobless under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, also known as COBRA, insurance program.
The 60-40 vote Wednesday essentially centered on whether the $18.1 billion package should be financially offset. Democrats have said the measure, which also extends unemployment benefits, should be considered emergency spending. Under such a move, the legislation would not necessarily have to be paid for.