Capitol Hill Agenda

Funding bill, farm debate, election 

The House and Senate are both in for half the week, to mark the Jewish new year. Both chambers will start work in earnest on Wednesday, and by the end of the week the Senate is expected to pass the six-month spending bill. The House might also pass a short-term farm measure.

This week is the last week of work scheduled for the House before the November election. Last Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that if the Senate can pass the six-month continuing resolution, the House will have no reason to work in the first week of October, as it had originally planned.

Eyeing Election Day

Adjourning early would allow members to return to the campaign trail. House Democrats say they have a fighting chance to win back the lower chamber, but political analysts say that’s a long shot. They need a net gain of 25 seats to win back the Speaker’s gavel from the GOP.

The battle for control of the Senate is up for grabs, though Democrats have gained some momentum in recent weeks.

FUEL Act, Fannie and Freddie

The House is poised to vote on a bill that would cap the amount of money the federal government can spend buying and leasing cars and trucks over the next four years, which would slash government purchases by more than $1 billion over that period.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), would set an upper limit on government buying and leasing at 80 percent of the amount spent in 2010. According to the General Services Administration, the government bought 63,794 cars and trucks in 2010, and spent about $1.5 billion to get them.

House Republicans will also debate a bill that would force mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to shrink themselves by jettisoning certain non-critical assets.

Veterans’ jobs

The Senate will try to move ahead on a veterans’ jobs bill, after having failed to get as far as it wanted last week due to GOP opposition. That veterans’ bill is a top priority of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Democrats are expected to revive their calls for the House to pass the five-year farm bill that passed the Senate in June. But GOP leaders say they lack the votes to move a long-term farm measure. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has indicated a one-year-extension might be in the cards.