At press time, it appears that the two major controversial pieces of legislation—health care and global warming/renewable energy—will be put off until after the traditional month-long August Congressional recess. With those off the table, that could mean that appropriations bills may be passed before the start of Fiscal Year 2010 on October 1. Note the use of “could” and “may” in the last sentence. In this Congress, party leaders, committee chairmen, and caucuses of members seem to change their tactics from day-to-day. Both the House and the Senate have been bogged down in the early summer by parliamentary maneuvers on both sides of the aisle, with the House Democrats having an easier time of enforcing rules to speed up debate. If the two houses don’t pass their individual versions of the appropriations measures and get them to conference committees by mid-September, an omnibus spending bill or at least a stop-gap “continuing resolution” at current spending levels may be necessary.

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