Republicans made a point of holding up the June jobs airport as a reason why taxes can't be increased on anybody. "Who thinks that raising taxes on individuals and small businesses can help create jobs?" House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) asked on Friday.
But the jobs argument also pulls the other way. Democrats continue to argue that it makes no sense to reduce jobs or welfare programs during a shaky recovery (if it can even be called a recovery anymore). Democrats this week kept their focus on revenue, and continued to point to the oil companies and millionaires as the way to find needed funding.
If history is any guide, the two parties will get virtually no advice from Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke. Bernanke testifies on the state of the economy on Wednesday in the House and Thursday in the Senate.
Bernanke's testimony will likely be nearly identical, as will his answers to questions about "what to do." Bernanke has routinely said it makes sense to shrink the deficit, but has confounded members of Congress by saying it's up to Congress on how to get there.
A more detailed look at the week ahead follows:
The House meets at noon for speeches then at 2 p.m. for legislative work. Members are expected to consider amendments to the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, H.R. 2354.
A vote under a suspension of House rules is also expected on H.R. 2417, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act. This bill would repeal federal standards for light bulb efficiency that has been the target of Republican criticism. A two-thirds vote is needed for passage.
The Senate meets at 2 p.m. and plans a cloture vote on S. 1323, expressing the sense of the Senate that taxes should be raised on people earning $1 million a year or more in order to help resolve the debt and deficit crisis.
The Senate is in for the rest of the week, but its schedule is unclear.
The House meets at 10 a.m. for speeches and at noon for legislative work. Aside from completing work on the Energy and Water bill, work on several bills is possible during this period.
Also due up is H.R. 2018, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act. This bill would amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to preserve the authority of each state to determine its own water quality standards.
The House meets at 9 a.m., and may continue work on the bills listed above.
House Republicans also expect to begin work on H.R. 2434, the 2012 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. This bill funds the Department of Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, and several independent financial agencies.
The bill provides for $20 billion in discretionary funds, nine percent less than FY 2012 and 22 percent less than the Obama administration's request. Treasury's budget would be cut nearly $2 billion from FY 2011 levels.
The House may also take up legislation that would extend airport and airway taxes that help fund the Federal Aviation Administration. These taxes have already been extended a few times this year, and they will expire again on July 22 unless extended again.
Republicans have not said whether they plan to take up another short-term extension, or a bill providing a longer extension. The latter option has been held up by a dispute between the two parties over language that would make it harder to form air and rail unions.