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Congress returns to fight over jobs, budget cuts
Congress returns, with unemployment level, budget cuts topping a combative autumn agenda
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Fights large and small await Congress as it gets back to business, with jobs and budget cuts topping a contentious agenda that also includes a lengthy roster of lower-profile but essential items.

President Barack Obama is to unveil his jobs agenda in a nationally televised address Thursday night, but early glimpses of the package show it relies heavily on extending expiring programs like a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

Also this week, a bipartisan deficit-reduction panel will hold its first meeting amid mixed expectations that it can be successful in a highly partisan climate.

In the short term, there's a need for legislation required to simply keep the government running past Sept. 30, including a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown.

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