WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

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Full Plate In Congress Before Winter Recess

Stopgap funding bill among agenda items for this week

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It's a busy week for the region's lawmakers as Congress prepares to recess for the holiday season. 

Congress has waited until the last minute once again. The government runs out of money on Friday if a budget agreement isn't worked out. Millions of unemployed workers across the U.S. are also closely watching to see if lawmakers are able to extend unemployment benefits before they leave town. 

One of the stickiest issues is whether to extend a payroll tax cut for average workers, which has the support of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). "Well it will have an economically stimulative effect," Moran says.

Democratic leaders have vowed not to recess for the holiday unless that payroll tax cut is extended, but the GOP has resisted Democrats' attempts to fund the extension with a tax hike on millionaires. 

The packed schedule and lingering partisan gridlock has many observers predicting Congress could be in session through next weekend. 

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