Washington (CNN) – Congressional negotiators are closing in on one of the most important policy decisions of the year – how to divvy up roughly $1 trillion in government funds, but they may be running out of time to get a bill through Congress by the January 15 funding deadline, according to Republican and Democratic sources.
Instead, those sources confirm that Congress may need to pass a temporary one or two-day funding bill to keep the government running next week.
Leadership sources in both parties tell CNN that appropriators want to finalize a broad, or omnibus, government spending bill in the next two days. House Republican leaders hope to start gauging support for a bill Friday. The rules of the House require a three-day waiting period before a bill comes to a vote, but House leaders have sometimes waived that requirement.
No matter how quickly the House acts, the sweeping spending bill could still face a procedural grind in the Senate and take days for debate. Leadership aides are divided over whether passage of an omnibus spending bill by January 15 is still possible, but all seem to agree that the timeline is getting very tight.
The bill would be a sort of part-two to the bipartisan budget deal passed last month. That so-called Murray-Ryan agreement set overall spending levels for the government. Now appropriators, led by Democrat Barbara Mikulski in the Senate and Republican Harold Rogers in the House, have to specify who gets what, agency by agency.
That difficult and granular debate over priorities and programs usually takes months. But appropriators have had just three weeks since the budget numbers became final. As a result, multiple sources close to the negotiations say that staff has been working long hours, including Christmas and New Year's days, to try and meet the January 15 deadline.
So far, negotiators have finished half of the sub-sections that make up the omnibus bill, Mikulski told reporters Tuesday. And a Democratic aide close to negotiations said that the other half are nearly finished.
But those final details have required days of negotiations. And, the Senate aide admits, they are cutting it very close toward getting something by the president by January 15.
CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story.