Racing the Clock

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With less than 60 legislative days on the Congressional Calendar before the 2010 mid-term elections, Congress finds itself with much unfinished business. A budget resolution, 12 appropriations bills, the “Extenders” package, the war supplemental, financial regulatory reform, climate change/cap and trade, and immigration reform, among others, await completion. Some have yet to see any action while others are closer to the finish line. Congressional Leadership will need to prioritize what must be wrapped up by October and what can wait until the “lame duck” session after November 2.

Depending on your interests, some issues are more pressing than others. The Medicare “doc-fix,” federal Medicaid funding to states, supporting our troops, and aid to the Gulf are likely to be at the top of the list. On the appropriations front, we can expect defense and homeland security funding to be first in line for congressional action, with domestic spending bills likely deferred until closer to the end of the year.

Will Congress pass a budget resolution before tackling appropriations? Will the disaster in the Gulf spur action on a scaled down energy bill? Will Congress pass a financial regulatory reform bill after more a year and a half of debate? These and many other questions remain, but what will help shape the agenda for the remainder of the 111th Congress is the ticking clock of the legislative calendar………

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