The Senate, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid , has so far failed to resolve partisan differences on offsets for an emergency extension of long-term jobless benefits that expired for 1.3 million Americans on Dec. 28.
But any one senator could trip up the timing of the omnibusís passage, which also could raise the threat of a shutdown.
The future of the long-term farm authorization and the unemployment extension is murky. The farm bill continues to be tied up by a variety of colloquial interests. Leaders had planned to hold an open hearing the first week back in January to let members air their grievances through amendment votes to finally wrap the legislation. But those plans were canceled after once-shrinking policy gaps on dairy pricing and product-labeling burst back open.
On the unemployment issue, Democrats and Republicans still cannot find a mutually acceptable offset to pay for the bill and both parties seem to keep moving their demands in ways unpalatable to the other side.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.