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After a week dominated by talk of job creation and a weekend full of remembrance for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Congress returns to work today. CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing Editor David Hawkings talks with WAMU Morning Edition Host Matt McCleskey about what's on their agenda.
Congress prepares to talk jobs
After the president laid out his jobs plan last week, it will now be up to Congress to take up his proposal. Obama will hold a press conference to bolster the bill in the White House Rose Garden later today, and plans to send the bill text to Congress tonight.
There's some talk of cherry-picking some of the president's job creation proposals, Hawkings says, and both sides seem to be ready to compromise. "Neither side is describing this as a take-it-or-leave-it proposal," Hawkings says.
There is some disagreement among Republicans about how quickly to take up the bill, he adds, due to the political implications of helping the president -- whose approval rating is precariously low -- achieve something on jobs.
But view among the Republican leadership that getting something done on jobs would benefit the Republican House, which has a similarly low approval rating, seems to be the dominant one at this time, adds Hawkings.
FAA funding deal on the table
Members of the House and the Senate also reached an agreement over the weekend to extend funding for the Federal Aviation Administration through the end of the year. The agency had been partially shut down for nearly two weeks this summer when Congress failed to agree on a funding package; it has been operating on a stopgap funding measure since early August, when members of Congress passed a temporary funding bill.
"House Republican leaders with some help from the Senate, seem to have cut a bill over the weekend that would extend funding for the FAA into January, and combine that with the extension of federal highway programs," Hawkings says. "It's a clean bill, with no policy provisions or funding cuts."
The move essentially delays the larger issue, however, meaning Congress will once again have to debate FAA funding early next year.
Special election tomorrow for Weiner's seat
Tomorrow also brings two special elections for representatives, one of them, to fill the seat of former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), who resigned earlier this year after admitting to sending lewd text messages to at least one young woman.
Surprisingly, the front runner in the race for the largely Democratic district appears to be Republican Bob Turner, says Hawkings. "If he wins, it will be hailed by Republicans as a pretty important Republican victory," says Hawkings. Due to redistricting, however, it's possible the seat would be eliminated for the next term, meaning that whoever wins would only serve for the next 16 months.