- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2010

For the second time this week, lawmakers will interrupt their August recess to return to Capitol Hill to tend to some unfinished business.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the chamber will hold a short special session Thursday to pass a bill providing $600 million in emergency funding to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

The House earlier this week returned for its own one-day session to pass a $26 billion spending bill providing aid to states struggling to pay teacher salaries and meet higher Medicaid bills. The House also approved a slightly amended version of the border bill, requiring the Senate to return to formally ratify the changed text

The border-security measure is expected to pass the Senate on a voice vote, spokesmen for both the Democratic and Republican leaders of the chamber said.

A notice issued by Mr. Reid’s office said the session will also take the opportunity to pass a resolution marking the death of former Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, who was killed in a plane crash Monday in his home state of Alaska.

“This will be an extremely short session, as we will just be doing these two items,” Mr. Reid said in a notice to colleagues Wednesday. “Once the session concludes tomorrow, we are out until September 13.”

The border-spending bill is uncontroversial. The measure will be passed by “unanimous consent,” following an agreement brokered between Mr. Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. Few senators are expected to make the trip back to Washington to attend.

The session will be conducted by bill sponsor Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, both Democrats.

Among other items, the border-security bill calls for some 1,500 new law enforcement agents to patrol the border and $14 million for new communications equipment.

Lawmakers say they will pay for the new border funding by charging higher fees on companies that recruit foreign workers to work in the United States. President Obama is expected to quickly sign the bill once it is passed.

“These assets are critical to bringing additional capabilities to crack down on transnational criminal organizations and reduce the illicit trafficking of people, drugs, currency and weapons,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

From combined dispatches. 

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