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Senate gets back to legislative business

The Senate gets back to legislative business this week. On the floor, the Senate will debate the FAA reauthorization bill -- what Democratic leaders call "the first jobs bill" of the new Congress.

Supporters say the bill is designed to modernize the aviation industry with the "next generation" air traffic control system; improve commerce by reducing delays and congestion; and create jobs by funding the the FAA's Airport Improvement Program (AIP) with $8-billion.

According to the American Association of Airport Executives, improving airport infrastructure with AIP funding could lead to the creation of 280,000 jobs. "If there were ever a jobs bill, this is it," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today on a conference call with reporters.

On the heels of today's federal judge's ruling that the health-care law is unconstitutional, the Judiciary Committee will hold a previously scheduled hearing on "The Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act." On Wednesday, the committee will hear testimony from experts and academics. 

In a newser on Tuesday, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso introduce their bill which allows states to "opt-out" of the law's major provisions: the individual and employer mandates, and expansion of Medicaid.

There also will be two policy hearings on Iraq, with testimony from U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey and the commander of U.S. Forces-Iraq, General Lloyd James Austin. They appear before Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, and Armed Services on Thursday.