Things are a bit quieter on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol this week, as Senate Democrats are decamping Tuesday and most of Wednesday to nearby Annapolis for a policy retreat, while Senate Republicans head over to the Library of Congress for their issues conference.
Both meetings are closed to the media and held away from the Capitol complex to allow senators a more relaxed and frank exchange of ideas. Senate Democratic aides said their bosses will discuss a broad range of issues, including a proposed overhaul to the nation's immigration laws, gun-control measures and the ongoing debate about fiscal policy. President Obama plans to attend the meeting Wednesday. Similar topics of discussion are expected for Senate Republicans, their aides said.
On Thursday, the Senate reconvenes and plans to move to final debate and passage of a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Thursday is also the first official day on the job for Mo Cowan, who will be sworn in that day to temporarily succeed Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).
It's also a lighter week over in the House, because House Democrats will spend part of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va. at their annual retreat. Obama is scheduled to address the group on Thursday. Former president Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker on Friday.
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