As the House and Senate reconvene today after a five week break, the debate over whether the U.S. should conduct military strikes against Syria for using chemical weapons is dominating the news, and threatening to crowd out other issues that lawmakers will still have to tackle in coming weeks.
For example, lawmakers must approve a stop gap budget by the end of the month to keep the government running, as the House and Senate haven't come close to doing their budget work again this year.
A House vote could come as early as this week on a temporary funding bill, but it's unclear what budget levels House Republicans will include in that plan, which has yet to be unveiled.
Also on the horizon for Congress is what could be a major partisan showdown over the debt limit, as Uncle Sam will run out of borrowing authority by mid-October.
But all of that is taking a back seat in the House and Senate this week, as debate will begin on the Senate floor on a resolution authorizing limited military strikes against Syria, with a test vote expected for Wednesday.
The timing of House action on Syria remains unclear; the schedule put out by GOP leaders simply says, "Possible consideration of an authorization for the limited and specific use of military force against the government of Syria to respond to the use of chemical weapons."
Further overshadowing any work in Congress this week on other issues will be President Obama's speech to the nation Tuesday night on the need for action in Syria.
Coverage of that should easily muscle aside a Tuesday rally by Tea Party Republicans at the U.S. Capitol to demand that any stop-gap budget plan also block funding for the Obama health reform law; that effort still seems far short of enough GOP support in the House and Senate.
House Republicans do have a bill on the schedule this week that relates to the Obama health law; it would require the feds to confirm that people are eligible for health insurance subsidies before granting that aid.
Meanwhile, there is no sign that the House will move forward on immigration reform legislation soon. While the issue certainly was raised by both sides in town hall meetings in August, few expect that to appear on the schedule this month, or even in October.
The bottom line right now is that Syria dominating the political scene in Washington.
Monday will bring more closed door briefings for lawmakers as they return to Washington, with hearings set for Tuesday, and a possible first Senate vote on Wednesday.
While the White House is pushing hard to garner support for that plan, there is strong resistance in both parties, making Tuesday night's speech by the President all the more important.