Lawmakers are rolling up their sleeves to make some tough decisions now that Congress's Independence Day recess is over.
Besides dealing with an alleged Capitol Hill scandal, Congress will confirm a new secretary of state, vote on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget , try to pass a supplemental appropriations bill to President Reagan's liking, and vote on raising taxes and the possible use of US troops in Lebanon.
Today (July 13) the House Ethics Committee receives an FBI report on allegations of sexual misconduct and drug use involving congressional pages and members of Congress.
Also today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opens confirmation hearings for George P. Shultz, nominated by President Reagan to succeed Alexander M. Haig Jr. as secretary of state. Quick approval is expected.
There is expected to be prolonged discussion of Mr. Reagan's conditional offer to send up to 1,000 marines to Beirut as part of a multinational peacekeeping force. Several lawmakers have already expressed outright opposition.
On the money front, Congress faces two big problems - funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year and raising taxes in an election year. Unless the fiscal 1982 supplemental spending bill is approved with dispatch, thousands of government workers in several agencies could be furloughed without pay because their agencies have run out of money.
The Senate on Monday began what could be a long and tumultuous debate on a proposed constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget. (Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. (R) of Tennessee predicted the Senate would approve the amendment.)
Time ran out on the Equal Rights Amendment last month, but the measure will be reintroduced with fanfare Wednesday, with supporters hoping for seven more years to work for ratification by the states.