The Senate Appropriations chairwoman is interested in seeing spending bills bundled together for floor consideration.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski said she hoped to get floor time as soon as possible. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has previously indicated that the Maryland Democrat and fellow appropriators could get two weeks of the current work period.
"Right now our goal is to get our bills marked up, and we leave it to the leader to decide how they're going to be brought to the floor," Mikulski told CQ Roll Call. "In the interest of time, I would like to see some clustered. You can call them minibuses, I'll call them clustered."
She did not speculate on how many bills might make any such "cluster."
"I'm getting ready. My buses will be lined up. We can decide whether they're going to be mini or maxi," Mikulski said, adding or "extended length."
While appropriators may still face long odds given the tight legislative schedule, there's been sentiment expressed on both sides of the aisle that Mikulski might just be the right senator for the job.
The "minibus" approach would be a reprise of a strategy attempted with brief success in fiscal 2012 when the Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation-HUD and Agriculture bills were bundled together into a cluster, as Mikulski might put it.
"A lot of folks believe that if anyone can do it, it's Sen. Mikulski," one senior Senate Democratic aide said Monday.
The Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to consider the THUD and CJS measures.
Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.