Senators Return to Work Facing Hefty Agenda

Posted September 2, 2009 at 2:34pm

No rest for the weary.

Senators return to work Tuesday after a monthlong recess and face a busy agenda that’s likely to stretch until the end of the year.

The Senate is scheduled to convene Tuesday evening to vote on a procedural motion to consider a travel bill that is a top priority for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), whose home state relies on the tourism industry. The measure was defeated on a cloture vote in June.

Reid hoped to bring up the bill before the Senate adjourned Aug. 6 but opted to push it off until the fall to make time for the Senate to extend the popular Cash for Clunkers program and confirm Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

As Senators get back to legislating next week, they are also expected to take time to honor the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), whose 15-month battle with brain cancer ended on Aug. 25 when he died at age 77. A large number of Kennedy’s colleagues attended his funeral in Boston on Saturday, and a resolution honoring the lawmaker can be expected next week.

As the Finance Committee continues to try to broker an agreement on health care reform, the Senate will press on with a trio of spending bills to fund the Transportation, Interior, Commerce and Justice departments and the science-related agencies.

A host of executive branch nominees also remain on the calendar. Reid filed a cloture motion on the nomination of Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs before adjourning for the summer recess. Sunstein was approved May 20 by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.