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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 06/28/2012

Supreme Court, Fast and Furious and baseball: 5 things to watch today in Congress


(Joshua Roberts - Bloomberg News)
Today promises to be one of the busiest days of the year in Washington, and while most attention will focus on the U.S. Supreme Court, eyes will eventually shift across the street to the U.S. Capitol to see how Congress reacts, and later votes, on three contentious issues.

Here’s a quick look at what promises to occupy the attention of most lawmakers and what you should keep tabs on today:

1.) How will Republicans react to the Supreme Court’s health-care reform decision?: Expect to hear from House Republicans by midday, when Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and his GOP colleagues are scheduled to hold a news conference outlining their initial reactions. Remember, Boehner said last week that there would be no “spiking the ball” if the high court rules against the health law. Boehner has tapped Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) — a mother of young children — and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) — a physician — to lead the GOP response, and aides said to expect them to stress how the health-care reform law affects doctors and women, who they say make roughly 80 percent of family health-care decisions.

2.) How will Democrats react to the Supreme Court’s health-care reform decision?: Last week House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged her colleagues to continue stressing the benefits she said Americans enjoy as a result of the health-care law. But Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, sounded a more adversarial tone Wednesday by telling reporters that a ruling that strikes down the law “will go unfortunately a long way in confirming this growing belief in the gut of the American people that the Supreme Court no longer cares so much about the Constitution, it cares more about politics.”

3.) How many Democrats will join the GOP in voting to hold Holder in contempt?: At least four Democrats — John Barrow (Ga.), Nick Rahall (W. Va.), Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Jim Matheson (Utah) — who maintain generally moderate voting records and face challenging reelection campaigns in moderate- or Republican-leaning districts, plan to vote with Republicans against the attorney general. All four have earned the support of the National Rifle Association, which said it plans to track how members vote Thursday in determining future endorsements. Several moderate Democrats rely on the NRA’s endorsement in election years, and one lawmaker predicted Wednesday that “a couple dozen” other Democrats may vote against Holder.

4.) How quickly do things progress on the student loans and highway bills?: Senate and House leaders reached deals late Wednesday on a bill providing federal transportation dollars and are likely to package it with a deal reached in the Senate that would freeze federally subsidized student loan rates at 3.4 percent for another year. The question now is how quickly do both chambers (2chambers!) move to pass the bills, but the quickly approaching weekend should serve as a powerful incentive to complete work before the Fourth of July recess.

5.) And most importantly, who will win the Congressional Baseball Game?!: It seems oddly appropriate that after what promises to be a bitterly partisan day, lawmakers plan to head a few blocks south of the U.S. Capitol to Nationals Park to throw balls and swing bats at the annual Congressional Baseball Game. (Tickets cost only $10 if you want to attend.) In recent years, Democrats have come out on top, so, depending on how things go, winning a baseball game might be the only victory they enjoy today.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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