Congressional leaders said Tuesday that they may work through the weekend to reach a budget deal, even though the deadline for a government shutdown is Friday at midnight. Republicans hope to push through delays to taxes meant to pay for provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
Congress could pass another continuing resolution, which President Barack Obama said he would sign, so long as an agreement was reached.
December 18 is the last day both houses are scheduled to be in session.
Republicans on Tuesday discussed adding the ACA's medical-device tax and the Cadillac tax on high-end insurance plans to a bill that would extend several tax breaks for another two years.
House Way and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released a plan for “tax extenders” Monday night that did not mention the ACA taxes. He said that while he will continue to push for a permanent ban on the taxes, adding them to the extenders bill is a backup option.
Changes to the Cadillac tax in particular could see some bipartisan support. Many Democrats, including the leading presidential contenders, have said they would stop the tax. But neither Democrats nor Republicans have proposed how they would pay for the lost revenues the tax was designed to provide.
One health industry expert keeping an eye on budget talks said that while it's hard to predict what could happen in an omnibus budget package, healthcare would likely see little impact outside of the possible tax changes, which could be devastating to the ACA's funding.