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January 6, 2008

Senate Agenda - Chairmen Return

Return of Dodd, Biden Could Provide Push to Legislation
The return of two Senate committee chairmen from the presidential campaign trail could provide a boost to legislation within their purview.

Topping the list for Dodd is a sweeping modernization of the Federal Housing Administration that the White House has embraced as its preferred legislative response to the ongoing housing crisis. The Senate passed the bill, which Dodd sponsored, by 93-1 on Dec. 14, just days before the first session ended.

The House has passed its own, very different version. That could presage a difficult conference negotiation, one that will require Dodd’s personal involvement and attention.

Biden is expected to resume efforts to ease the ongoing crisis in Pakistan. He has backed a large boost in non-military aid, and conditions on U.S. military aid based on success against terrorists. “Ten billion dollars later, Pakistan remains the central base of Al Qaeda operations. We must strike a much better bargain,” Biden said in November.

The Foreign Relations Committee this year must reauthorize President Bush’s Emergency Plan to Fight AIDS. Biden’s priority list also includes more steps to address the humanitarian crisis in Darfur and international climate change issues stemming from last month’s conference in Bali.

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