Congressional Democrats and Republicans sharpened their political knives Sunday as lawmakers return to Washington this week to begin executing legislative agendas designed to help their respective parties in the November elections.
The first major battle will likely be over restoring long-term unemployment benefits, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled to hold a preliminary vote Monday on the issue.
“The first thing we want to get done is extend unemployment benefits,” he told Fox News on Sunday.
The benefits were not included in a two-year budget deal Congress reached before adjourning for winter break, but not before House Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, made clear the money will not be restored unless offset but other spending cuts.
The White House is also applying pressure on congressional Republicans, issuing a statement on New Year’s Day that said President Obama supports the bipartisan Senate bill to reinstate benefits for the 1.3 million Americans who lost the insurance in the new budget deal.
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