Despite pressure from outside groups, however, it is appearing less likely that either the estate tax measure or immigration reform legislation will be completed before October. Frist is not scheduling any further floor time for either measure at this point, preferring to take a wait-and-see approach to allow behind- the-scenes talks to develop in the hope that a deal can be brokered
Frist also hopes to continue to push through as many of President Bush’s judicial nominees as possible. While it appears unlikely that particularly controversial nominees will see floor consideration this year, the GOP expects to fill a number of vacancies before October.
Judges also will play a part in a political offensive Frist is planning on behalf of GOP incumbents, aides said. And unlike the 2004 election, when they bemoaned Democratic obstruction, the GOP this fall will likely emphasize its prowess in getting nominees confirmed.