Summer break is over, and as lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., for a short September session, it seems Republicans and Democrats will be playing nice on at least a few issues — so as not to jeopardize the upcoming elections.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) lock arms as they sing “We Shall Overcome” during a ceremony to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King on Capitol Hill June 24, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Republicans control the House and want to pad their 17-vote majority, so they intend to follow this simple rule: first, do no harm.
Last fall, they sparked a partial government shutdown over the implementation of President Barack Obama's health law. Now, Republicans are pressing for drama-free passage of a temporary spending bill to prevent a shutdown at month's end and fund government agencies into mid-December.
The Senate is sure to go along if the measure is kept free of objectionable add-ons.
House Republicans also plan votes aimed at drawing attention to legislation they say would boost jobs and energy production.
"We're set up to paint a very stark contrast between ourselves and the Democrats who run Washington — if we take advantage of it by getting our work done and getting our message out," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told colleagues in a conference call last week.
Democrats will probably play a similar strategy, as the AP noted:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., seems most intent on getting endangered incumbents from Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina back campaigning as soon as possible.
He is planning to adjourn the Senate by Sept. 23 after dispensing with the spending measure and holding votes — destined to lose — on Democratic planks such as raising the minimum wage and block the flow of unlimited, unregulated campaign cash from the wealthy, including the billionaire Koch brothers.
Republicans might cave on a few divisive issues, including the reauthorization of the "corporate welfare" program known as the U.S. Export-Import Bank — GOP aides told the AP the bank would likely be reauthorized at least through next year.
On the bright side, insiders said that Congress is likely to extend the current freeze on state and local governments taxing Internet access, which is set to expire Nov. 1.
Also coming up is the first open hearing of the special House committee charged with investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, the AP noted.
During the week of Sept. 14, the committee will meet to consider how the State Department is adopting security recommendations at American embassies and diplomatic outposts worldwide.
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