Congress faces agenda of unfinished business
WASHINGTON – Congress returns today to a crowded agenda of unfinished business overshadowed by the urgent need for President Barack Obama and lawmakers to avert the economic double hit of tax increases and automatic spending cuts.
One week after the elections – and seven weeks after they last gathered in Washington, Republicans and Democrats face a daunting task in a lame-duck session that Capitol Hill fears could last until the final hours of Dec. 31. But even before serious budget negotiations can begin, lawmakers will tackle leftover legislation on trade with Russia, military budgets and aiding farmers still reeling from the summer's drought.
The first days back will be a mix of old and new – choosing down-ballot leaders in the Senate while the 12 new members, three Republicans, eight Democrats and one independent, are introduced to their colleagues. The House will welcome some 70 new members who will get a crash course Wednesday on how Congress operates with a class on ethics.
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