Effect of president's economic agenda on health-related bills' timing unclear

President Obama's new economic priorities — and Democrats' desperate desire to refocus on job creation ahead of the mid-term elections — could delay health bills after the August recess.

Sandra Eskin, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts' food safety campaign, tells The Hill that food safety legislation is "ready to roll" and could come up in the next to weeks. But, she added via e-mail, "I guess it depends on what happens with the small biz legislation/new economic proposals."

Regan Lachapelle, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said "food safety is still on a list of possible items that we could consider in the upcoming work period. We are still working on the schedule."

The Senate on Tuesday is still expected to take up two amendments to a small business bill that would affect a tax filing requirement created by the healthcare reform law. An amendment by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) would eliminate the provision requiring businesses to report more purchases to the IRS.   

A substitute from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) would scale down the tax filing requirement without eliminating it.

"We are still planning on having the vote," Lachapelle said.