User's Manual on Spending Bill in the House

Senior Congressional sources indicate to me that they are a LONG way away from finishing this bill. They went until nearly 1:30 Wednesday morning. They went until 4 am Thursday and still aren't done.

What this means is that the House is trying to get a Unanimous Consent (UC) agreement on how to handle the remainder of the amendments (there are still hundreds) and forge ahead all day Thursday and into the wee (and I mean wee) hours of Friday morning. Once they can get the UC as to what is on the table (dispensing with some amendments, carving deals on what's in order), Hill sources tell me they then know "the size of the universe" and what's in it. Then they can better estimate what they have to tackle. Which puts us well into early Friday morning. One source points out that even though they'll have their general time estimate then, you should tack several hours onto that because it will inevitably take longer to do.

What are the big items on the table? On Thursday, they'll have an amendment by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., to strip all funding from the health law for this fiscal year. Also Thursday there will be an amendment to RESTORE money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Later in the debate there will be amendments on limiting EPA dollars.

They also have to debate (yet again) the Patriot Act on Thursday since they now have to take up a new version after the Senate passed something different Tuesday night.

So, stay tuned. This will be a long one over the next several days.