By Deirdre Walsh (CNN)
After a five-week summer recess, Congress returns to a long list of unfinished business, but with 57 left days before Election Day, it's likely it will tackle only the bare minimum in its short fall session.
The one must-pass measure -- a short-term continuing resolution to fund federal agencies -- will avoid any pre-election talk of a government shutdown, with which neither party wants to be tagged. Republican and Democratic leaders struck a deal this summer on a six-month bill, but both chambers still need to pass the legislation before government funding expires at the end of this month.
The House is expected vote on the bill Thursday, and two GOP leadership aides predict it will get a sizable bipartisan majority. A senior Senate Democratic aide tells CNN the Senate is expected to approve the measure next week.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the third-ranking GOP leader in the House, did not directly answer whether a majority of House Republicans would vote for the stopgap spending bill, but said, "I expect that bill to be a bipartisan vote, and I expect the Senate to pass it as well and not add anything to it."