The House also is likely to pass some financial market reforms pushed by Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Franks committee has been churning out reform proposals, and regulatory reforms could give Democrats a feel-good breather amid the titanic health care struggle.
But several Senate aides said regulatory reform in that chamber will likely come next year.
The Senate has also had to push back its climate change debate plans, with some aides saying its unlikely a bill will make it to the floor this year.
Reid has extended his deadline for having legislation ready for the floor from Sept. 28 until an unspecified time later this fall.
And regardless of whether budget reconciliation is used for health care, it will be used to eliminate federal subsidies for private student loans in favor of a single federal solution.
That legislation is expected to save tens of billions that will be plowed back into aid to students.
Shepherded by Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), a top Pelosi lieutenant, the student loan bill should be a slam-dunk in the House.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.