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Will Congress Make Progress?

Members of Congress returned to Capitol Hill Monday for their first session of the new century, but last century's stalemates still stand, reports CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick. With the added pressure of a presidential election year and fear among Republicans that they could lose the House, some say there will be little chance of passing significant legislation. Republican leaders disagree.

"Everything you have in the second session is something you had trouble getting done in the first session," said House Majority Leader Dick Armey, "so I think we'll work out every one of these issues and we'll do it fairly early in the year."

Those are optimistic words from a House majority leader facing a heavy legislative agenda.

First on the GOP wish-list is a major tax cut, starting with wiping out the marriage penalty. Then there is health care reform, which failed to pass in the last session. As for gun control, Armey concedes, that's not likely.

Meanwhile, Democrats want a Patient's Bill of Rights which allows patients to sue their HMOs. They will push a minimum wage increase, a smaller targeted tax cut and continue the battle over guns. But most admit, campaign politics will inevitably prevail.

"Their strategy is to try to stop all legislative activity and try to paint us as the do-nothing Congress," Armey said.

But Armey's ally in the Senate, Majority Leader Trent Lott, conceded last week that Campaign 2000 would shorten the legislative year and limit expectations. Democrats tell CBS News they will keep the bar high on their issues and reject any watered-down legislation.

Let the games begin.

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