(USA TODAY) -- President
Obama faces a full agenda when he returns from vacation this weekend,
one that includes budget battles and health care fights - and that was
before Egypt descended into near-chaos this week.
Egypt's military government into holding new elections is the latest
addition to a crowded fall political calendar that could make or break
Obama's second term.
The president is scheduled to return Sunday evening from his week-long vacation at Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
the days and months ahead, Obama will seek to put in place key parts of
his health care law, pursue a landmark immigration bill, and - perhaps
most important in the short run - avoid a government shutdown and
another crisis over the debt ceiling.
The president's to-do list
also includes pushing a jobs and middle-class legislative package and
defending surveillance programs conducted by the National Security
At a pre-vacation news conference, Obama said he didn't
expect congressional Republicans to back a government shutdown "at a
time when the recovery is getting some traction" and jobs are starting
to come back.
"I have confidence that common sense, in the end, will prevail," Obama said.
He added: "We'll see what happens."
Republicans said they don't want a government shutdown either, but that
Obama needs to support bigger spending cuts in a new budget plan.
good friends on the other side of the aisle have been spending the
entire year trying to get us to walk away from spending reductions that
we committed to on a bipartisan basis just a couple of years ago," said
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Obama, meanwhile, wants to end the automatic, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration.
dispute hits a major deadline on Sept. 30. when the current fiscal year
ends, as does the temporary spending plan that is now funding the
government. Without at least a new continuing resolution, the government
could shut down on Oct. 1.
Moreover, some conservative
Republicans are advocating a shutdown if Congress does not end funding
for Obama's new landmark health care law, another major item on the
president's fall plate.
In October, the administration will begin
attempts to sign up uninsured Americans for new health care marketplaces
coming on line. In addition, at some point this fall, Congress will
have to raise the current debt ceiling, which is around $16.7 trillion.
has said, repeatedly, he will not negotiate to raise the debt ceiling,
noting that it enables the government to pay bills already rung up.
congressional Republicans say the debt ceiling issue can be used to
leverage more budget cuts from the administration. Two years ago, a debt
ceiling standoff led to a near-default and a downgrade in the nation's
On Sunday, though, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spoke out
against a shutdown. "I don't think shutting down the government is a
good idea, but I do think that we were elected, conservatives were
elected, to try to stop this overreach, this government takeover of
health care," Paul told Fox News Sunday.
The upcoming fall
political season will see a renewed Obama effort to secure another major
piece of legislation, an immigration bill. As he has in recent
months, the president is planning to pressure House Republicans to sign
off on the immigration bill approved by the Senate earlier this year.
House Republicans say a key a provision of that Senate bill - a pathway
to citizenship for people already in the United States illegally -
amounts to amnesty for lawbreakers.
Obama is likely to cite some
of these issues this week when he embarks on a two-day bus tour of
upstate New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. The president is also
expected to stress education and jobs proposals.
Foreign affairs are no less crowded for the administration in the coming months.
the next few months, Obama faces the prospects of rising instability in
Egypt, an escalating civil war in Syria and increasingly testy
relations with Russia.
During the first week in September, he is
scheduled to fly to St. Petersburg, Russia, for a Group of 20 nations
summit, where a still-struggling global economy tops the agenda.
though the G-20 summit is in Russia, a meeting with Russian president
Vladimir Putin is not on the schedule. Obama canceled a planned summit
with Putin in Moscow after a string of differences that included
Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency
leaker Edward Snowden.
Snowden's leaks led to criticism of NSA
tactics, and Obama has said he will work with Congress on potential
improvements to surveillance programs.
Outside events can always intrude on a president's time, as they did this week during his vacation in Martha's Vineyard.
Egypt's interim military government cracked down on supporters of
ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Obama responded by canceling plans for
joint U.S.-Egyptian military exercises. He alluded to other potential
aid cuts if the military government does not follow through on pledges
to call new elections and re-install a democratically elected
"Going forward," Obama said, "I've asked my national
security team to assess the implications of the actions taken by the
interim government and further steps that we may take as necessary with
respect to the U.S.-Egyptian relationship."