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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addresses reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate leaders are planning to hold final votes for the week on Tuesday night so members can fly home early for Yom Kippur, three aides familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senate Democrats, who returned on Monday from their monthlong recess, are planning to leave town one day before Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) "soft" deadline for the House and Senate committees to finish drafting their portions of the $3.5 trillion infrastructure reconciliation plan.

  • However, many of the committees are still drafting details of the package, such as whether repealing the state and local tax deduction limits (SALT) should be included in the tax portion of the House Ways and Means bill.
  • They also have just over two weeks until the government runs out of money, and are close to the October deadline for when the U.S. is expected to default on its debt unless Congress raises the debt limit. As of now, it’s still unclear how, and when, they plan to do so.

Between the lines: The Senate was already scheduled to have a truncated week.

  • It planned to break ahead of sundown on Wednesday for those celebrating the Jewish holiday.
  • But ensuring the last votes for the week are held on Tuesday means Democrats also can avoid having to answer questions about whether they met the self-imposed Sept. 15 deadline.

What they're saying: Senate Democratic leadership aides insist the plan was never to have the finalized text by Sept. 15 but to have enough text that the caucus could discuss the contents during its weekly lunch meeting Tuesday — which it did.

  • Schumer said Tuesday morning he believes members met his deadline: "Working with our colleagues in the House, we will have met the target date of Sept. 15 set in the Budget Resolution for producing text to review."
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also praised the committees in a Monday "Dear Colleague" letter, stating that by Wednesday, they will "meet the deadline to submit their legislative proposals to the Budget Committee."

Yes, but: Democrats are far from finalizing the $3.5 trillion bill.

  • They haven't even settled on a final price tag.
  • Moderates like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) say they won't support such a steep price, while progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) saying $3.5 trillion is the minimum.

Axios also spoke with several Democratic senators and their aides this week about the Sept. 15 deadline, and they gave wide-ranging answers about what was supposed to happen by Wednesday and whether it had been achieved.

  • The consensus, though, is they have a very long way to go before reaching a final deal.

Go deeper

McConnell: Manchin "feels like a man alone" among Democrats

McConnell and Manchin shaking hands ahead of a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Wednesday made an open plea for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to join the Republican Party, after Manchin's announcement earlier in the week that he would not vote for President Biden's signature agenda item.

What he's saying: "I think what Manchin is discovering is that there just aren't any Democrats left in the Senate that are pro-life and terribly concerned about debt and deficit and inflation," McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Updated 30 mins ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Health care workers hit new breaking point

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The ranks of health care workers are dwindling and stretching what it means to be reaching their "breaking points," particularly at small nonprofit hospitals.

The big picture: Even as Omicron cases have begun to wane in some places, many hospitals are still fielding a crush of patients amid record employee callouts.