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The Week Ahead: Sprint to Summer Break

With the housing relief bill having passed the Senate Saturday and the heavy lifting mostly done for now, Congress will try to dispense with a handful more big-ticket measures before leaving town at the end of this week for the August recess.

On tap in the Senate is a massive "tax extender" bill, which includes breaks for renewable energy and extensions of a variety of expiring tax breaks. The measure has been the subject of partisan disputes for months, and Democrats failed in their first effort to move the bill back in June. The new and improved version includes flood relief money for the Midwest and a variety of other provisions designed to attract more votes. But it remains the subject of sparring between the parties over whether it should be "offset" by corresponding spending cuts and tax increases.

The Senate is also expected to vote today on the so-called "Coburn Omnibus," a package of measures that have been held up by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). The package includes a variety of popular bills, and Democrats are hoping that there is something in the bundle for everyone, or at least enough to force Republicans to abandon their colleague and vote to move it.

The House, meanwhile, is scheduled to move the first, and possibly only, appropriations bill of the year -- the measure covering spending for military construction and Veterans' Affairs. Democratic leaders have been loathe to move any spending bills so far for fear that Republicans will try to attach language lifting the ban on offshore drilling for oil and gas. The House will also consider the Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure designed to make it easier for women who believe they are victims of pay discrimination to file suit. The bill is a response to the Supreme Court's controversial decision in the so-called Ledbetter case.

Off the floor, Barack Obama is scheduled to huddle with the full House Democratic Caucus behind closed doors Tuesday. And tonight, four House Democrats will square off against four Republicans in a debate on energy policy at Tulane University, the third in a series of debates that have been organized by the two parties this year.

Check Capitol Briefing later today to read takes on this week's agenda from aides to the top four congressional leaders.

By Ben Pershing  |  July 28, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agenda , The Week Ahead  
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Glad the Senate is so busy but will Senator Reid bring up the DC Voting Rights Act to bring democracy to the nation's capital? Come on, Harry, you can do it!!!

Posted by: DC John | July 28, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

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