Both houses of Congress will reconvene in first full week of January, and once back in session will have a tight time frame to consider and pass legislation to replace the current continuing resolution that is set to expire on January 15. Part of that CR included forming a bipartisan budget conference that was tasked with coming to a preliminary budget agreement by mid-December. The conference emerged with a number - $1.012 trillion - but did not flesh out details of how that number would be reached. Now the task at hand will be to pull together an omnibus budget that can pass both houses quickly, or else another government shutdown could be triggered.
Many Republicans continue efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and it is likely that fight will continue to spill into budget negotiations. The Obama administration has been scrambling to salvage public perception of the law through a rough several months of clumsy implementation, often tapping into funds mandated by the law itself and separate from appropriations. With that money nearly exhausted, additional appropriations will be necessary to continue to implement the ACA going forward.