Congress returns this week to an ambitious agenda that includes a Supreme Court confirmation, major financial regulation, potential immigration reform and other significant priorities. Some, like Elena Kagan's nomination, appear likely to pass. Others are less clear.
The death of Sen. Robert Byrd last month left Democrats with one less sitting member in the Senate, effectively destroying their immediate plan to pass a financial reform bill and to separately extend unemployment benefits prior to the July 4th recess.
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, is tasked with appointing a temporary successor to Byrd, but has stated he has no official timetable to do so.
And the closer Democrats get to midterm election season, the more Congress will have to factor in how re-election races will impact their agenda. Democrats in close races may be less willing to take controversial votes as they turn to wooing independent and conservative voters for November.
All of which means this will be a very busy July. For a summary of key items for this congressional session, see the link below.
More info on this story on Yahoo News: Congress returns to a full plate