The Senate is likely to reject a White House-backed plan to establish a bipartisan task force to recommend steps to curb the deficit, even as lawmakers digest the news that President Barack Obama wants a three-year freeze in the domestic budgets they control.
Fresh numbers arriving Tuesday morning from the Congressional Budget Office are expected to bring continued bad news on the deficit, keeping the pressure on Obama and congressional Democrats to demonstrate they're serious about taking on the flood of red ink.
Buoyed by a big Senate win in Massachusetts and gains in Governorships in Virginia and New Jersey, Republicans beat the bushes for new candidates to run for the ever-growing list of competitive seats in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Polls show increasing voter dissatisfaction with the policies of President Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership of Congress and Republicans hope to capitalize on that anger.
GOP strategists see growing opportunities for major gains in both the House and Senate, aided by missteps by Obama and Democratic congressional leaders.
Democrats, forever oblivious to the will of American voters, continued to try and save their hopelessly-damaged health care non-reform bill Thursday but any hope for a deal is vanishing into the thin air of political stupidity.
Yet the clueless leaders of the party of the jackass persist.
Republicans, embolded by the upset victory in the Massachusetts special election to fill the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy and polls showing the majority of American people think the bill is a joke, have stepped up their attacks on the bill and Democrats admit privately that they have shot themselves in the foot when it comes to health care and other failings of their Congressional leadership and the faltering agenda of President Barack Obama.
Democrats on Capitol Hill fear the light at the end of the tunnel is the light from a runaway locomotive called voter anger.
The loss of a Massachusetts Senate seat held for so long by Sen. Ted Kennedy has shaken the party of the jackass to its roots. The same voter backlast that put Democrats into control of Congress in 2006 and Obama into the White House in 2008 has turned against them.
They're the party in power now and things haven't changed in Washington. They've gotten worse.
Voters still want to throw the bastards out. Only now the bastards are Democrats.
So doom and gloom roam the halls of Congress.
A panicky White House and Democratic allies scrambled Sunday for a plan to salvage their hard-fought health care package in case a Republican wins Tuesday's Senate race in Massachusetts, which would enable the GOP to block further Senate action.
The likeliest scenario would require persuading House Democrats to accept a bill the Senate passed last month, despite their objections to several parts.
Aides consulted Sunday amid fears that Republican Scott Brown will defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy's seat. A Brown win would give the GOP 41 Senate votes, enough to filibuster and block final passage of the House-Senate compromise on health care now being crafted.
Members of the U.S. Congress begin 2010 scrambling to reduce the double-digit U.S. jobless rate, knowing their own jobs will be at stake in the November election if they fail to deliver.
With about one in 10 Americans out of work, the highest percentage in 25 years, President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats -- who control the Senate and House of Representatives -- are making job creation their top priority.
"Americans have a lot of angst, a lot of anger, a lot of fear," said House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer. "Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, all polls show that jobs are the major issue."
For much of her campaign, Martha Coakley steered clear of the Kennedy mystique, methodically crafting a low-key campaign to fill the late Edward Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat the way the seasoned prosecutor would build a case in court.
But with the wheels threatening to come off the campaign and a double-digit lead eroding to a dead heat in the polls, Coakley, the state's attorney general, is banking that a deep-seated loyalty to Kennedy among Massachusetts Democrats will be enough to propel her to victory.
Coakley has publicly accepted the endorsement of Kennedy's widow, Vicki Kennedy, and nephew, the former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy. Vicki Kennedy has also made a fundraising appeal and cut a television ad on Coakley's behalf.
President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats stand within days if not hours of striking final deals on historic health care legislation after key labor unions won concessions and pledged their support.
"We are on the doorstep of accomplishing something that Washington has been talking about since Teddy Roosevelt was president, and that is reforming health care and health insurance here in America," Obama told rank-and-file House Democrats on Thursday during a visit to the Capitol complex.
A House committee probing bailout deals has subpoenaed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for correspondence from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other officials.
The House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee is examining New York Fed decisions that funneled billions of dollars to big banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley.
Geithner was president of the New York Fed at the time. He approved decisions involving the money from the bailout of failed insurer American International Group Inc., according to an earlier watchdog audit.
On Wednesday, committee chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y. formally invited Geithner to testify this month about his role in the AIG bailout and the decision not to disclose what banks benefited.
Short of rationing, lawmakers have pulled nearly every available cost-control lever in the sweeping health care overhaul President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are pushing to finish.
Will it work?
It may take 10 years or more to find out. Costs are expected first to go up, as tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans get coverage and start going for checkups, mammograms and MRIs. Over time, if the plan works, health care inflation would slow. With the magic of compounding, shaving even 1 or 2 percentage points a year from rising spending rates would translate into big savings across the economy.