Congress returns Monday from a two-week recess and faces an immediate deadline to fund the government past Friday.
And while lawmakers are expected to find bipartisan agreement on a funding bill, Republicans are toying with pushing ahead with another attempt to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, a move that would put real time pressure on the House if it tries to do both.
The expectation is for lawmakers to quickly pass an "omnibus" spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year, to keep the government funded past Friday. That could incorporate a House-passed measure to boost funding for the Defense Department.
But mid-week, lawmakers were recognizing that a short-term funding bill might be needed. That option was on the table for Republicans, and could be used if they feel they don't have enough time to win over enough Republicans to pass it.
Either way, some action is needed, as the current stop-gap measure runs out on April 28.
"The committee continues to negotiate the remaining funding bills," House Appropriations Committee spokesperson Jennifer Hing told the Washington Examiner. "We expect to have legislation on the floor before the deadline."
With little time for infighting and a strong desire to avoid the specter of a politically unpopular government shutdown, Republican lawmakers are likely to avoid attaching so-called poison pill amendments that would draw opposition in the Senate from Democrats, assuming they try to pass a bill funding the government for the rest of the year. Senate Democrats have the power to filibuster in the upper chamber and could block the bill if they don't like it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier this month that the two sides were still negotiating dozens of outstanding differences that must be bridged before Democrats will agree to vote on spending legislation.
"It went from 200 to 115, and now we'll see in the conversations they are having which, by all accounts from my appropriators, has been constructive, respectful, traditional in terms of the Appropriations Committee," Pelosi said.
As with past spending measures, the legislation will be constructed to win Democratic support in order to ensure it makes it into law, but that means the bill will likely leave out the $3 billion President Donald Trump has requested to build a border wall.
It's possible the bill will boost defense spending in response to Trump's request for an $30 billion increase for the military, but it's unclear how much of that amount lawmakers will agree to provide.
Congress is unlikely to follow a plan sent by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney that called for the additional spending to be offset by $18 billion in cuts elsewhere in the domestic budget, including the National Institutes of Health which just received a bipartisan budget boost.
In a phone call with reporters during the recess, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who is a key negotiator, said "talks are going pretty well right now," but he warned the negotiations could fall apart if White House officials get involved and force the inclusion of Trump's requests.
"The White House," Schumer warned, "doesn't have to throw a monkey wrench into it."
Aside from acting on the House spending bill, the Senate is also expected to vote on the last Cabinet appointee of the Trump administration on Monday when it takes up the nomination of Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture. Later in the week, the Senate will take up the nomination of Rod Rosenstein to be Deputy Attorney General.
The wildcard for the week, meanwhile, is the possibility of some action on Obamacare repeal. But as of late this week, votes seemed doubtful.
Republican aides said lawmakers would talk about the newest version of the bill in a Saturday phone call. However, they also said a final decision wasn't likely there, and that several more days might be needed before deciding to push for a vote.
The Trump administration is pushing for a vote as early as next week, but even Trump acknowledged that this might be too fast, especially in light of the GOP's past unsuccessful effort to rush a bill to the floor. And GOP leaders seem to agree that rushing it again is not a good idea.
"The agreement that matters is the one that gets us to 216," one House aide said. "We're not going to set arbitrary deadlines."