Congress Back in Session

Congress reconvened Monday. The economy was expected to be a main focus on Capitol Hill after the unemployment rate jumped to 6.1 percent in August, the highest level in five years. Energy prices also were sure to be debated. In the Senate, the first order of business was a Pentagon spending bill. One must-do item on the agenda is passing bill to keep the government running after the new federal fiscal year begins on October 1. Senator Bernie Sanders has said his No. 1 priority is providing add

Congress reconvened Monday. The economy was expected to be a main focus on Capitol Hill after the unemployment rate jumped to 6.1 percent in August, the highest level in five years. Energy prices also were sure to be debated. In the Senate, the first order of business was a Pentagon spending bill. One must-do item on the agenda is passing bill to keep the government running after the new federal fiscal year begins on October 1. Senator Bernie Sanders has said his No. 1 priority is providing additional funds for home heating assistance as the elderly and families with children face record-high fuel prices this winter.

Other possible items for action include proposals to extend more than $50 billion in tax breaks, including incentives for renewable energy, that expired at the end of 2007 or run out at the end of this year. The House and Senate are also trying to work out compromises on a revamp a federal flood insurance program. They could also vote to replenish the highway trust fund, the source of revenue for federal projects. It is running out of money because of lower gasoline tax revenues this summer.