Washington (CNN) - Senate negotiators are close to a bipartisan agreement on a jobs package and the Senate could work through the weekend to pass it, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday.
The measure, which aides said has a price tag of about $85 billion, combines tax breaks for businesses that hire new workers with spending on infrastructure and extended benefits for the unemployed.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell warned Democrats that his members might need more time to study the bill before voting on it. "My members need to be able to feel like they understand what they are being called upon to support," he said on the Senate floor.
For Democrats, swift passage is critical. In addition to believing the aid is desperately needed in order to kick start hiring, Democrats are anxious to recover from their set back on health care reform and prove to voters they can get things done.
Republican sources said differences remain over the bill and they are concerned Democrats are trying to jam it through before it's ready in order to gain political momentum ahead of the upcoming week-long Presidents' Day recess.
The package also incorporates several items not related to the creation of new jobs, Senate sources told CNN. For instance, it includes a one-year extension of the Patriot Act, $1.5 billion in disaster relief for farmers, an extension of the flood insurance program, an increase in Medicare payments for doctors and the extension of several expiring tax credits.
Senate action on the bill is further complicated by a major snowstorm expected to hit Washington late Tuesday. Reid said he anticipates the Senate will be out of session Wednesday but he hopes to be back in session Thursday to finish the bill before leaving for recess.
If that happens, the bill would still have to be reconciled with a jobs bill that passed the House late last year.