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Wall Street Bill, Kagan and Petraeus Hearings to Dominate Agenda

Updated: 12:19 p.m.

House and Senate Democrats will try to send a financial reform bill to President Barack Obama’s desk within the week before heading home for the July Fourth recess.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) wrapped up a two-week conference on the Wall Street bill in the wee hours of Friday morning.

House leaders plan to bring the conference report to the floor in the coming week in time for the Senate to clear the measure for Obama’s signature before week’s end.

A Democratic leadership aide said Friday that the chamber also is likely to consider an emergency war supplemental this week. To pass that measure, Democrats will have to navigate internal opposition from liberals who oppose the war funding itself and Blue Dogs who are adamantly against deficit spending on domestic items that likely will be included in the war bill such as a cash infusion to stem teacher layoffs.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that she remained committed to passing the supplemental before July 4, the deadline recently set by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has backed off a tax extenders bill after repeated attempts to overcome a GOP filibuster failed, a House Democratic leadership aide said the chamber was prepared to consider that measure next week if there is a breakthrough in the Senate.

On Monday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a motion to end debate on the jobs bill that Reid has moved in lieu of the deadlocked extenders package. Monday’s cloture vote is set for early evening, as is a vote on one of Obama’s judicial nominees.

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and Gen. David Petraeus, nominated to become the next top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, are scheduled to begin early next week in the Judiciary and Armed Services committees, respectively. Kagan hearings are slated to begin Monday and Petraeus hearings should begin Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Reid intends to hold a floor vote on the financial regulatory reform conference report as soon as the measure clears the House. If the House acts before week’s end, the Senate might take up the legislation before adjourning for the July Fourth recess.

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