Congress returned this week from its August recess. With the November elections looming, Congress will recess the end of the month until after the election. During September, Congress is expected to pass the fiscal year 2007 defense appropriations bill. Most of the other appropriation bills, including ag, will be considered after the election.

Other issues to be considered will be port security, judicial nominations, minimum wage, tax extenders and the estate tax. Many issues will be put on hold until after the election.

Expect a number of issues to be raised by both parties this month that will have no chance of becoming law. These issues will be used to energize the base of both parties for the election. We will have to wait until after the elections to see many issues addressed.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent