The crush of unfinished business facing lawmakers when they return to the Capitol would be daunting even if Washington were functioning at peak efficiency.

It’s an agenda whose core items — tax cuts, a potential government shutdown, lots of leftover spending bills — could unravel just as easily as advance amid factionalism, gamesmanship, and a toxic political environment.

There’s only a four-week window until a Christmas deadline, barely enough time for complicated negotiations even if December stays on the rails. And that’s hardly a sure bet in President Donald Trump’s capital.

Trump and congressional leaders plan a meeting Tuesday to discuss how to sidestep a shutdown and work though the legislative to-do list.

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