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Reid Has Ambitious To-Do List Before Turning to Energy

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid laid out an ambitious agenda for the next 10 days before the August recess and threw into doubt the chamber’s timetable for a long-awaited energy debate.

The Nevada Democrat told reporters Tuesday that he may try to act on a small-business lending bill and a food safety measure before moving to energy legislation. Reid’s proposed energy bill is narrowly focused on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and modest energy efficiency measures.

“We hope to be able to complete a number of things here,” Reid said. “We’re going to work on small business. I’ve had very good conversations with both Democrats and Republicans on that. We’re going to try to finish that. We’re also going to work on food safety, and we’d like to do something on child nutrition. I’m going to try to do that. I’m told that that could be bipartisan.”

Reid said the chamber also will vote on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court before the August recess.

Reid said talks with Republicans have led him to believe he could finish the small-business measure by Wednesday evening.

“The rest, we’ll see,” he said. “We’ll take them one at a time to see if we’re allowed to move forward on them.”

But he indicated that the food safety bill would likely come before an energy debate. Reid had indicated previously that the energy measure would likely come up this week, but the schedule he outlined Tuesday could force the issue into next week, when he was hoping to focus almost exclusively on Kagan’s nomination.

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