Lawmakers appear ready to push back the deadline for a budget agreement, as talks on a separate bill moved closer to delaying at least two taxes under the Affordable Care Act.
House Way and Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said it was looking increasingly likely that the annual tax extenders package to delay certain tax collections by at least two years would include the ACA's medical-device tax and the Cadillac tax on high-end insurance plans.
The Cadillac tax in particular has received strong criticism from Democrats as well as Republicans, despite many economists' statements that it is a key funding source for the ACA that also helps control costs.
The White House, against the will of some congressional Democrats, is resisting Republican attempts to pare the taxes.
"We're always willing to engage in conversations about ways to strengthen the ACA that don't harm healthcare access, affordability, quality or the middle class," said White House spokeswoman Katie Hill.
White House and congressional negotiators searched for compromise Thursday on huge tax and spending bills that carry a combined price tag of well over $1 trillion, with leaders hoping to clinch agreements and let Congress adjourn next week for the year.
"Not everybody gets what they want when you negotiate in divided government," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told journalists, a nod toward the tough bargaining so far between President Barack Obama and the GOP-controlled Congress. "But I think we will complete this."
On the spending side, lawmakers are seeking a deal on a $1.1 trillion measure to finance federal agencies in 2016.
Agreement was close on the numbers, but flashpoints included GOP efforts to weaken Obama attempts to reduce air and water pollution, as well as loosen travel restrictions to Cuba, and to ease laws regulating the financial industry. As talks continued and current spending was scheduled to expire on Saturday, Congress planned to pass legislation Friday to avert a government shutdown, keeping agencies open through next Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.