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Congress: The amendments to watch

The Hill looks at the seven possible amendment issues to watch as health legislation moves forward: the public option, excise tax, prescription drugs, affordability, insurance exchanges, and Medicare cuts.

The AP is the latest to profile Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. "In a narrowly divided Senate, the two women who are willing to buck their conservative GOP colleagues enjoy outsized influence. Democrats see the pair as potential swing votes as they press forward with their health reform plan. Their support could provide a veneer of bipartisanship."

The New Orleans Times-Picayune on the state circumstances that drove Sen. Mary Landrieu to demand the "Louisiana Purchase" Medicaid concession: "Landrieu's quest to tinker with the [Federal Medical Assistance Percentage] formula was executed at the behest of the Jindal administration to solve an unintended consequence of the worst natural disaster in American history… Gov. Jindal, who opposes the Democratic health reform effort, has not joined in the noisy condemnation of Landrieu's work on the FMAP issue. His secretary of health and hospitals, Alan Levine, who has been the point man for the state on the issue all year, has praised Landrieu for her efforts, even though, like his boss, he opposes the Senate bill to which it is attached."

"Lawmakers, prompted into action by the double-digit unemployment rate, are considering business tax credits for new hires, state fiscal aid, extended unemployment and COBRA benefits, a $600 billion transportation reauthorization bill, a 'work share' program, aid to homeowners facing foreclosure and increased loans for small businesses," The Hill writes. "Congress and the White House have yet to coalesce around one approach. But congressional leaders said that some measure is necessary now that the jobless rate has reached 10.2 percent, a 26-year high. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned of an even worse unemployment situation if lawmakers fail to act." 

"House Republicans plan to use President Barack Obama's Thursday jobs summit as an opportunity to promote their own set of solutions to the current economic environment," Roll Call reports. "The GOP Economic Recovery Solutions Group led by Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) has put together a document outlining its ideas that is expected to be released at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday."

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will dominate financial news on Capitol Hill this week. Most eyes will be on Bernanke, who will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday for a confirmation hearing for a second term as head of the central bank."

The Miami Herald profiles Charlie Crist-appointed Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL), writing that the new senator "has quietly stepped up on behalf of his former boss. He co-headlined a Washington fundraiser for the governor last week and set up a political action committee, Protect America's Future, to funnel money to Crist and other political allies."