October just got very interesting -- with a post-Boehner Leadership scramble; government shutdown off the table; short-term CR, Debt Ceiling, Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization, Highway bill possibly *on* the table... And the Reconciliation process begins with aims to repeal Obamacare, defund PPFA.

It’s a short week, with a papal visit on Thursday: Pope Francis addresses a joint session of Congress, with remarks that are expected to make both sides of the aisle nod and squirm. The Senate will vote on a 20-week abortion ban while the specter of a government shutdown continues to loom.

Congress burst back into DC from recess with sound and fury -- heated debate on the Iran Deal and intractable positions on Planned Parenthood funding that threaten a government shutdown. The (short) week ahead will bring more of the same...

Members make their way back to Washington to work on a long list of outstanding issues with very few legislative days scheduled (15 for the Senate, 10 for the House.) Avoiding a government shutdown and a vote on the Iran Deal, are on the short-term agenda, with much more ahead in the coming weeks.

With Congress still in recess, the President challenged Congress “to do its part” when it returns in September. The President urged Congress to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank and pass a federal budget to avoid a shutdown. Also, Congress may act on proposals to deny funding of "sanctuary cities."

Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry made an historic trip to Cuba to re-open the American embassy, but the next steps in US-Cuba relations are for Congress to take. Here's a look at recent proposals in Congress, which would repeal the travel and trade bans, and recent votes in the Senate.

The House and Senate are both in recess until after Labor Day. As lawmakers meet with constituents in their districts and states, some are making up their minds on the Iran nuclear deal. The House and Senate are working on patent reform. And the House scheduled a hearing on the Benghazi attacks.