House members return to Capitol Hill Tuesday from their August recess to vote on a state assistance bill.
So what is it and what does it do?
Broadly speaking, the $26.1 billion package has two sections.
The first tranche offers a $10 billion payment to help avert the layoff of 140,000 teachers across the country. The second batch of $16.1 billion is designed to help cash-strapped states make 2011 Medicaid payments.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office scored the package as "deficit neutral."
Democrats raise about $9.7 billion in revenue for the bill by rolling back tax breaks for companies that send jobs offshore. Legislators cover the rest of the tab by making cuts in spending. The most significant slice is an $11.9 billion reduction in food stamp benefits. The program received a boost from the stimulus bill that passed in early 2009. Still, this effort marks a significant cut to the program.
Critics slam this maneuver as a budget gimmick. They argue that Democrats will inflate benefits again later after using the savings to pay for this new round of stimulus legislation.
The House raids $1.5 billion from a program to promote renewable energy products, enacted under last year's stimulus package. The initiative has already seen its bottom line dip once when lawmakers swiped money from that kitty earlier to help pay for the "Cash for Clunkers" auto sales rebate program. That legislation awarded car buyers vouchers for turning in older, less-fuel efficient models and using the trade-in money toward the purchase of a new vehicle.
The effort to approve the state aid money has a long and labyrinthine history.
The first attempt to avert a layoff of teachers came when the House tackled a major spending bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Senate had already approved a package to pay for the wars. The House offered several unsuccessful amendments to try to strip the bill of military money, yet simultaneously load the teacher money onto the war bill.
The Senate then summarily rejected the teacher aid when the House sent the new package to the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) combined the teacher and Medicaid money into its current form on a separate bill.
If the House approves this legislation, the package then heads for President Obama's desk.
Click here to find out much this bill is costing you by using Fox New's Taxpayer Calculator.
Fox News' John Brandt contributed to this report.