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Congress returns to looming deadlines on budget, highways

Members of Congress leave the Capitol Building
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Members of Congress leave the Capitol Building

Lawmakers are returning to Capitol Hill for a two-to three-week sprint to wrap up work on the budget, highway funding and taxes.

It's an end-of-the year stretch that will test the standing of Republican leaders like newly-installed House Speaker Paul Ryan with the GOP's tea-party wing and its anti-establishment presidential candidates.

There are less than two weeks until a deadline to pass a $1.1 trillion catchall spending bill to fund Cabinet agencies across the board and avoid a holiday season government shutdown.

If the process doesn't go smoothly, a last-minute temporary funding measure would be required to keep the government open when the current stopgap funding measure expires Dec. 11.