Congressional leaders on Tuesday moved closer to passing two high-profile bills in what could be the final burst of major legislative activity before the 2012 elections.

Senate leaders announced a deal to extend federal subsidies for college loans and floated the possibility of attaching the language to a multiyear transportation authorization measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that he is confident the student loan legislation will pass while pegging the chances of the highway bill at better than 50-50.

Both Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled they are open to combining the bills into one package. They also cautioned that the GOP-led House, where the politics are more delicate on these issues, would have to sign off as well.