Lawmakers gear up for Capitol Hill return with a lot on their plate

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Lawmakers are feeling the pressure as they finish up the two-week recess. Members of Congress left Capitol Hill two weeks ago in a divided state, and they head back Monday with a lot of work to do. Many are hoping lawmakers used their time off as a reflection period.

Tommy Binion from the Heritage Foundation says he hopes far-right and moderate conservatives came together on repealing and replacing "Obamacare".

“They could have a greater sense of unity sensing that Republican infighting is a problem,” said Tommy Binion from the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Members of Congress left Capitol Hill divided, with Democrats fighting Republicans, even Republicans fighting Republicans. Binion says he hopes the GOP used the break to finally come together on health care reform.

“We are more likely to see a pretty dramatic shift in tactic for “Obamacare” repeal than rallying around something that’s already failed them,” said Binion.

He says he thinks the far right will come together with moderates to bring sweeping changes to the Affordable Care Act. He says that can then pave the way for tax reform.

“There are a lot of issues that divide folks but, similar to “Obamacare”, there’s one big issue that unites folks and so I think what we’ll see on tax reform is a desire to get this done,” said Binion.

One looming question is what role, if any, will Democrats play? With minimal participation in discussions before recess, Sabrina de Santiago, from the left-leaning Center for American Progress, says she doesn’t think that will change.

“It’s really challenging for both parties right now in that their bases are in very different places, and so it’s very hard for them to find compromise. I think it’s going to take a lot of leadership from both sides,” said de Santiago.

She says Democrats cannot be expected to throw away their values for the sake of legislation.

“They need to compromise and bring moderate proposals to the table,” said de Santiago. “This is a divided country which means that folks...want moderation.”

Also on the congressional plate is the need to fund the government. Current funding runs out next Friday.

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