NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Lawmakers come back to work Monday facing a tough decision: Whether it's more important to spend money to keep the economic recovery going or to watch their pennies.
One camp, made up mostly of Democrats, is arguing that Congress must spend to help cash-strapped states and people who are hurting from the downturn.
The other side - mainly Republicans but also a few fiscally conservative Democrats - says that adding to the nation's deficit poses an even bigger economic problem. They don't mind helping the unemployed and the states, as long as the measures are paid for.
Lawmakers don't have much time to argue. They'll be in session for a month before leaving for the extended August recess. And when they return after Labor Day, they'll be wrapped up in the November elections and likely will get little done.
There are three pressing issues that lawmakers will wrestle with in July.