U.S. Congress Could Be Back for 'Lame Duck' Session

By John S. McClenahen Creating a new cabinet department of homeland security. Writing a comprehensive national energy policy. Providing better prescription drug coverage for seniors. Approving 13 appropriations bills for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. Those are the major issues that confront the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as the lawmakers return from their summer vacations -- officially known as the August recess -- this week. The legislators have less than a month to act on the major issues if they are to stay with a schedule that has them ending the second session of the 107th Congress on Oct. 4 so they can hit the campaign trails. That's a pretty big if. There's talk around Capitol Hill of the lawmakers being in session for at least an additional week. And it's entirely possible that the current complement of legislators will return to Washington after the Nov. 5 midterm elections for a so-called lame-duck session. In the meantime, Oct. 1 is the major legislative deadline. None of the 13 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2003 has yet to be passed and signed into law. So, at the very least, the lawmakers face the prospect of passing several special measures called continuing resolutions by month's end to keep the government in business.

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