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The transcontinental trip requires nearly a half-day of flying, and lawmakers who decide to attend the service will lose five hours on their return to the contiguous states. Per the guidance issued to members, the government plane likely will return to Washington early on the morning of Christmas Eve.
Given the tight schedule, many sources suggested that if any votes are called or a deal emerges, there are only two small windows before Christmas to deal with it: Friday afternoon or early Saturday morning. Even then, sources were skeptical that enough progress could be made to get anything wrapped before the holidays.
Most of the speculation on work this weekend revolves around Boehner’s ability to pass his backup plan through the House. If he does, Democrats would then have to decide whether they want or have to take action before everyone leaves town.
Congress is currently slated to return on Dec. 26, a travel day, which means votes are unlikely until late that evening or early on Dec. 27.