WASHINGTON (AP) -- Here are some things to watch for as Congress confronts a potential federal shutdown Tuesday and a need by Oct. 17 to extend the government's ability to borrow money:
- The Senate: Most senators left town after the Democratic-controlled Senate approved a bill Friday preventing a government shutdown on Tuesday. It would provide money through Nov. 15. The Senate's next session was scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT Monday -- 10 hours before a shutdown would begin.
- The House: The Republican-led House approved an initial bill preventing a shutdown on Sept. 20, with money running through Dec. 15. It scheduled a Saturday session and advised lawmakers they will likely meet Sunday, too.
- The next move: The ball is in the House's court -- meaning Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other House leaders have big decisions ahead. They will start at noon Saturday, when House Republicans meet privately and see if they can unite behind a plan.
- The Senate's shutdown bill: It's possible but unlikely that the House would just accept the Senate bill. Since the Senate dropped House-passed language blocking money for President Barack Obama's health care law, the Senate measure lacks provisions that might attract conservative votes. Besides, every Senate Republican present Friday voted against it.
- Boehner's other options: A more likely scenario might be amending the Senate-passed shutdown bill with something conservatives want that the Senate might grudgingly accept. Or with a provision that, should the Senate reject it, Republicans think might leave voters blaming Senate Democrats for any shutdown. House Republicans have spoken about abolishing a medical device tax that helps finance Obamacare programs, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has rejected that. The House could send the Senate a bill avoiding a shutdown for a week or so to provide more time to find a solution. But it remains unclear where Boehner would find votes for that.
- The debt limit: House GOP leaders were writing a bill extending the government's ability to borrow money past the 2014 congressional elections. They've crammed it with provisions designed to attract Republican votes, including a one-year delay on Obamacare and an accelerated schedule for votes on tax reform legislation. Even so, Boehner lacks the needed votes and his path on this bill remains a mystery.
- Talks among bipartisan congressional leaders: No talks are known to be scheduled.
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