Congress returns next week from its August recess, starting a critical period for the fate of health reform legislation. After a turbulent summer of town hall meetings and public wrangling regarding the scope of reform, President Obama will address a joint session of Congress on September 9, 2009 to discuss in more detail his vision for the legislation. In the meantime, a small bipartisan group of Senators is continuing to try to develop a compromise plan by its September 15, 2009 target. If attempts at a bipartisan solution fail, Senate leaders have indicated they may seek to consider reform legislation under “budget reconciliation” rules, which prevent filibuster and allow passage with a simple majority of Senators, but which limit the scope of the legislation that may be considered to provisions that impact spending. On the House side, leaders still must unite the separate bills approved by three different committees before the legislation can be considered by the full House.