Next week, after the Thanksgiving Holiday, Congress returns to Washington, D.C. for the final three weeks of the 111th Congress. The Senate is expected to focus on the bill that would bolster federal regulation of the food supply. Other expected action will focus on earmarks and repealing a particularly unpopular part of the health overhaul law. That portion requires companies to tell the IRS about any vendor who gets more than $600 a year.
Other bills standing on the sidelines include: taxes, spending, jobless benefits, defense authorization, immigration and the New START arms control treaty. The tax debate alone will probably take at least a week, and that's assuming President Obama and the Democrats settle on an approach. That hasn't happened because Democrats are split over whether to acquiesce in a temporary extension of all the Bush tax cuts, which Republicans have set as their floor for support.