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Congress returns with hefty to-do list

They've been away from Washington for more than two weeks, but Congress is finally back on the job.

Both chambers of Congress are back in earnest this week to begin the second year of a session noteworthy for its rancor and sluggish productivity.

(Read more: Congresslets 55 tax breaks expire at year-end)

Here's what's on the to-do list for lawmakers as they return to Capitol Hill.

Paul J. Richards | AFP | Getty Images

1. Unemployment insurance: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the chamber will hold a procedural vote Monday on a bipartisan proposal to extend long-term unemployment benefits to 1.3 million jobless Americans whose aid expired at the end of 2013. The plan put forward by Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., would offer a temporary extension of the federal benefits that kick in when state jobless aid runs out. It's not clear whether that proposal , which is backed by the White House, has enough support to pass the Senate, and it faces stiff opposition from House GOP leaders.

2. Obamacare: The dawning of a new year hasn't changed the Republican appetite for legislation to modify the Affordable Care Act. House leaders have said they'll schedule a vote on legislation to require possible cybersecurity breaches involving the website to be disclosed to the public. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is responsible for the website, says users' privacy is already "a top priority."

3. Immigration: After the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill last summer, the effort fizzled when House Speaker John Boehner flatly refused to bring the sweeping proposal up for a vote in the House. But Boehner and other House leaders, eying the changing demographics of the American electorate, have signaled that they want to get some kind of immigration legislation passed this year through a "step-by-step" process, and pro-reform activists were heartened when Boehner brought a longtime immigration legislation expert on as a staffer last December. But any House-passed legislation may not be enough to meet Democrats' demands for a path to citizenship or legalization for most undocumented immigrants.

(Read more: Lew warnsCongress of February debt ceiling deadline)

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