WASHINGTON — The first day of the lame-duck session of Congress — full of potential conflict — turned into an odd waiting game Tuesday for industry lobbyists and others with wish lists of unfinished legislative business.

At the top of the retail industry’s agenda is for lawmakers to finish work on a massive overhaul of bankruptcy law. A House-Senate compromise is almost complete, except for a couple of errant House members who need to sign off. To dislodge the bill, a dozen retail chief executives from across the country sent a joint letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R., Ill.), urging him to intervene.

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