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Congress: Avoiding another government shutdown

“The sales job is on for a bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill that would pay for the operations of government through October and finally put to rest the bitter budget battles of last year,” AP writes. “The massive measure contains a dozens of trade-offs between Democrats and Republicans as it fleshes out the details of the budget deal that Congress passed last month. That pact gave relatively modest but much-sought relief to the Pentagon and domestic agencies after deep budget cuts last year. The GOP-led House is slated to pass the 1,582-page bill Wednesday, though many tea party conservatives are sure to oppose it. Democrats pleased with new money to educate preschoolers and build high-priority highway projects are likely to make up the difference even as Republican social conservatives fret about losing familiar battles over abortion policy."

“With a deadline looming at midnight Wednesday for new spending authority, lawmakers will still need a three-day stop-gap funding extension to ensure enough time for passage of the spending bill this week,” Reuters notes.

Roll Call: “Rep. John Carter of Texas, one of four GOP congressmen who was part of bipartisan negotiations over comprehensive immigration policy changes last year, said voting on the matter this year would distract from the party’s efforts to highlight flaws in President Barack Obama’s health care law.” Said Carter: “I personally think this is the wrong time from our standpoint to go forward on immigration. It’s an election year. I mean Texas is in the middle of primaries right now.” Serious question for Carter: Is being in Congress about making good policy or just about politics?

As legislation to reinstate long-term unemployment benefits enters a crucial week on Capitol Hill, U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) called on Congress to get “its act together” and give benefits to those unemployed who are looking for the “basics--food, shelter, gas money to go look for work,” NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard and Carrie Dann report. “We in the Congress, we’re leaving on Thursday for 11 days -- 11 days. And we simply cannot leave 1.5 million people, leave them in the lurch, leave them in the cold,” he said Monday on a conference call sponsored by the Dem-leaning group Americans United for Change.