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A Long Agenda Faces Congress Before End Of The Year

U.S. Capitol building
Brendan Stringer/Getty Images

 There is much to do and little time to do it.  That’s what faces Congress between now and the end of the year.  Pressure is mounting on House and Senate negotiators to strike a budget deal by mid-month.  Failure to do so could prompt fears of another government shutdown when a temporary deal funding the government expires in mid-January. 

Meantime, a massive agriculture bill remains in limbo along with immigration reform.  The Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill but the measure is stalled in the Republican-led House.  The farm bill is hung up in a partisan dispute over cuts to food stamps. 

A sweeping defense bill is stuck in the Senate in a dispute over amendments.  Some competing amendments aim to curb sexual assault in the military.  Two key presidential nominees await confirmation by the Senate  –  Jeh Johnson as homeland security secretary and Janet Yellen as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. 

The White House is trying to quash moves in the Senate to pass new sanctions on Iran, warning that it could threaten the interim nuclear deal that was reached with Iran this month.  The shrinking legislative calendar complicates matters for Congress.  Lawmakers hope to complete this year’s work before Christmas.  The House returns to work this week after last week’s Thanksgiving recess.  The Senate doesn’t return until December 9th.  (Metro Networks Inc.)

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