Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Congress Returns to Full Agenda during Short Session

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Congress Returns to Full Agenda during Short Session

Article excerpt

When the second session of the 110th Congress begins on January 15 in the House and on January 22 in the Senate, Congress will have an opportunity to address the issues left behind when they adjourned in December, but will face challenges, given the current relationship between Congress and the Administration and the highly charged political climate of an election year.

Last year, the newly elected Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate set out a fairly ambitious agenda that included increased funding for a range of domestic programs. This year, that ambition will be tempered by not only ideological differences, but deteriorating economic conditions--due to the credit crunch caused by the mortgage finance crisis and spiraling energy costs--as well as the presidential and congressional elections.

Though much of the country's focus will be on the presidential election, House and Senate majorities are also at stake in this year's elections.

The congressional work weeks will be shorter than usual so that incumbents can campaign back in their home districts. The House has already announced that it will return to a shortened legislative week this session and plans to adjourn on September 26.

While the House leadership has indicated that it wants to address issues related to economic, national and energy security, the legislative calendar may leave little time to work on many issues beyond setting spending levels for the fiscal year 2009 budget and appropriating additional funds to support the Iraq war. …

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