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Congress: A four week-sprint

“Senate Democrats will be racing the clock and the calendar this week when they return to Washington for a four-week legislative sprint,” The Hill reports. “The majority party hopes to take up and pass a long-stalled package of unemployment insurance benefits this week, as well as the Wall Street reform conference report they’d hoped to finish before the recess. Democrats plan to map out specifics at their weekly lunch on Tuesday.”

“Democrats will have little margin for error this week as they push for final congressional approval of the most comprehensive rewrite of financial rules since the Great Depression,” Reuters writes.

The Washington Post on the rest of the ambitious agenda: “An emergency war funding bill, loaded up with unrelated spending, faces a White House veto threat. The Senate must still approve Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court. Add to that coming debates over campaign finance legislation, long-awaited food-safety rules and a contentious defense authorization bill that would end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military. As if that's not enough, the Senate could add to the list. Sensing opportunity in the public's outrage over the BP oil spill, Democrats are considering reviving the dormant climate-change debate.”

“Despite a new requirement for disclosure, some members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation have tucked lists of requests for special appropriations, known as earmarks, in obscure corners of their official websites, making the proposals more difficult for the public to find,” the Boston Globe writes.

“Out of about 1,400 votes so far this Congress, Pelosi has participated in just 81,” Roll Call notes. “The numbers underline a frequently overlooked fact about the Speaker: Even as she has consolidated power in her office and emerged as her party’s most forceful advocate of far-reaching change, she has exercised some restraint on the floor. The tack is apparently a nod to tradition. As presiding officer of the chamber, the Speaker is expected, for the most part, to abstain from voting.”