Good morning and welcome back to the Alley. Here's an early look at what you need to know about Congress and K Street.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is severing "formal" ties with the Senate Conservatives Fund so that the group can form a super PAC, Politico reports. Jonathan Allen explains: "The super PAC will be able to raise and spend without limits, letting the South Carolina Republican's operatives make runs at the kind of mega donors who have redefined the 2012 fundraising season."
Rep. Charlie Rangel's vote margin over Democratic challenger Adriano Espaillat dwindled to just 802 over the weekend, The New York Times reports. There are also 2,000 outstanding absentee ballots that are yet to be counted, and Espaillat, meanwhile, is going to court today to ask that the ballots be secured.
The Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold reviews Congress's work from the past two weeks, a period that culminated in the passage of the highway-student-loan-flood-insurance bill. "The past two weeks represented a final chance for lawmakers to pass substantive legislation before the fall election, and a look inside the Capitol over the days before the Fourth of July recess reveals that this Congress, with its reputation for acrimony and gridlock, may be finally learning how to do its business. But only after it has done everything else," Fahrenthold writes.
The Hill reports that Senate Republicans are floating the idea of forming bicameral working groups aimed at reaching a compromise on the defense sequester.