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House Democratic Caucus To Meet Twice In Denver

While all the attention at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver next week will be on the historical nomination of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president, House Democrats will be doing some plotting of their own.

The House Democratic Caucus is scheduled to meet on both Tuesday and Wednesday while in Denver, according to Democratic aides. House Democrats will plot out legislative strategy for September during one session, while the other will include a review of the political outlook for Election Day.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders have been wrestling with how to handle any upcoming House floor debate on energy policy, specifically offshore drilling, when Congress reconvenes in early next month. Pelosi, an opponent of offshore drilling, has signaled that she is willing to allow a vote to occur, although she favor certain conditions. House Republicans have refused to yield on the issue, continuing informal sessions on the House floor to protest Pelosi's decision to adjourn for the August recess without a vote on the issue.

Democrats are also planning a second economic stimulus package for floor action in mid-September, although details of the package are still up in the air. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will also have to hash out the details of a continuing resolution funding the government through the rest of the year, possibly into 2009. No decisions on the period covered by the CR have been made at this time, according to Democratic insiders.

Politically, House Democrats are in strong shape, with party leaders expecting to pick up seats, although they are playing down expectations of a second straight "wave" election.

In addition, Democratic strategists acknowledge that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive GOP nominee, has shown renewed strength in the polls, although it's unclear whether that will translate to down-ballot support for other Republican candidates and incumbents.