>> It's that time of year again on Capitol Hill, and that's doesn't mean the holidays. Once again, the final dash before Congress leaves for their break dominated by a battle to keep the government funded with Congressional leaders once again herding different camps of their own fractious parties in hopes of a deal.
Capitol Hill correspondent, Rick Cowan.>> The current appropriations bill expires on Friday, December 9th, and unless Congress acts by then, that would trigger a round of government shutdowns. So right now, both the House and Senate are trying to finish up by this coming Thursday or Friday. They're likely to unveil new legislation the beginning of this week, possibly Monday or Tuesday, try to get it quickly passed by the House and the Senate, and off to President Obama for signing into law.
>> But as usual, under the surface layer of happy talk, there's a mine field, or in this case, a mine.>> There is a problem with an expiring law that helps coal miners and retired coal miners, both their pensions and their healthcare. Some of their healthcare benefits are due to expire during December at the end of the year, and so that needs to be patched before the end of the year.
If they don't patch it, then there are coal miners or their survivors who end up losing benefits.>> The thankless job of avoiding bedlam falling once again to Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. And watching Ryan's every move, the GOP hardliners of the Republican Freedom Caucus, who all bit chased his predecessor John Boehner out of town.
>> These are the very fiscally conservative Republicans who wanna effect major changes through appropriation bills, even these stop-gap spending bills.>> The leaders hoping they can please enough members to keep the money flowing, at least into the early days of President Donald Trump's administration and avoid a nightmare just before Christmas.