Elections Looming, Dems Face Packed Schedule

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WASHINGTON -- Democratic lawmakers may be able to pass their financial overhaul bill this week after Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine and Scott Brown, R-Mass. announced on Monday they will give their crucial support to the plan.

That big vote and several others will mean a busy schedule for Congress in the next few weeks.

Under the Gun

Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill have a narrow window of time to push through their agenda, particularly in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. plans to bring financial overhaul to the floor this week in hopes of getting the legislation to the White House - immediately.

The House has already passed the sweeping financial reforms. Democrats are eager to see it pass the Senate because it will give them the ability to say they're on the side of ordinary Americans as they begin the task of cleaning up Wall Street.

Democrats will also take another stab at trying to pass the tax extenders and unemployment benefits bill. Republicans oppose the measure because they believe there's still more room to cut spending, instead of adding to the $13 trillion debt.

Next, the Senate will attempt to push through an energy bill. The measure will reportedly include elements that relate to clean-energy, a response to the Gulf oil spill, and the thorny issue of capping carbon emissions.

The Kagan Vote

Finally, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to send President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan to the full Senate after her confirmation hearing last month. Democrats want to schedule the vote before the next district work period.

Some may find it interesting to see how a testy electorate and an active Tea Party will influence Republicans who voted for Kagan in 2009 when she was confirmed as U.S. solicitor general. A number of GOP lawmakers already have already made it clear they will vote "no," including Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who voted for her last year.

"Elena Kagan's record shows that her primarily academic and political experience and her activist judicial philosophy make her inappropriate for serving on the Supreme Court," Hatch wrote.

Lawmakers have just four weeks to complete their work before packing their bags and returning to their home districts for August recess. House leaders announced they may finish a week early to give embattled incumbents more time to campaign at home.

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