What's on Congress' to-do list
The Senate left town Friday for its August recess, a week after the House. Both chambers are scheduled to reconvene Sept. 8. When the lawmakers return, a proposed overhaul of the nation's healthcare system will be just one of the weighty matters on their agenda. Here is a look at the status of several measures before Congress.
President Obama's effort to expand and improve insurance coverage is likely to dominate Capitol Hill for most of the fall. The House, where three committees have drafted legislation, is aiming to bring a blended version of the bill to the floor soon after lawmakers return to Washington. In the Senate, where the pivotal Finance Committee has not yet agreed on a bill, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is working toward a Sept. 15 deadline imposed by Democrats for coming to terms on the panel's version of the legislation. Obama and congressional leaders hope for final action before the end of this year.
The House has passed energy legislation that includes provisions to limit greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. It is not clear when the companion bill will come to the Senate floor. For the Senate bill, Obama will face pressure to make concessions to energy interests, such as demands to open the nation's coastlines to oil and gas drilling.