By Conor Kenny on April 21, 2008

By Avelino Maestas

This week in Congress, Democrats are looking at cutting a deal with President Bush over the Columbia Free Trade Agreement and the Senate will hold new hearings on global warming legislation hearings on Earth Day. Meanwhile, a new battle for extending Iraq War funding looms on the horizon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is considering what to do about a trade agreement with Colombia. She pressed the House to adopt a rule change earlier this month that prevents President Bush from requiring a vote on the agreement. Now, Democrats are investigating potential deals involving the trade agreement, while the White House has asked that Pelosi change her mind.

Some Democrats have proposed exchanging reworked trade adjustment assistance for a vote on the FTA. Others have suggested a deal for the reform of the Foreign Service Intelligence Act (FISA) or an expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Read the rest of the blog for more news and complete Senate and House hearing schedules for the week.

A standoff also looms over war funding for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress is set to debate $108 billion for the rest of 2008, with another $70 billion in Pentagon requests for 2009 also on the horizon, and Democratic leaders will probably tie domestic programs—specifically, extended unemployment benefits—to any defense cash.

Following calls by President Bush to voluntarily reduce carbon emissions, the Senate Finance Committee this week will hear testimony on the taxation implications of cap-and-trade programs, which place limits on carbon emissions but also gives credits to organizations that produce carbon lower levels. Those credits can then be purchased or traded in a market-system.

The Senate Environment Committee last year approved legislation—America's Climate Security Act of 2007—to establish a cap-and-trade program, and the full chamber is expected to begin debate on the measure in early June. President Bush has opposed such a program of mandatory emissions caps, and prefers a technology-based approach. He’ll face pressure to sign any climate legislation approved in Congress this year, which many see as more favorable to business than anything that will come during the next administration.

Hearings Schedules:
April 22, 2008

Joint Conference Committee

  • Joint Conference Committee
    Meeting of conferees on H.R.2419, to provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012. Time to be announced, Room to be announced.

Senate

House

April 23, 2008

Senate

  • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
    To hold hearings to examine the crisis in Darfur. 9:30 a.m. [SD-419]
  • Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
    To hold an oversight hearing to examine an update on Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense cooperation and collaboration. 9:30 a.m., [SR-418]
  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary
    To hold hearings to examine National Security Letters, focusing on the need for greater accountability and oversight. 10:00 a.m. [SD-226]
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations, Defense Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2009 for the Missile Defense Agency. 10:30 a.m. [SD-192]
  • Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics, and Related Agencies
    To hold hearings to examine phantom traffic. 2:30 p.m. [SR-253]
  • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine the crisis in Tibet, focusing on a path to peace.
    2:30 p.m. [SD-419]
  • Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    To hold hearings to examine the nomination of Nanci E. Langley, of Virginia, to be a Commissioner of the Postal Regulatory Commission. 2:30 p.m. [SD-342]
  • Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, National Parks Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine S.662, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study to evaluate resources at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick, Maine, to determine the suitability and feasibility of establishing the site as a unit of the National Park System, S.827, to establish the Freedom's Way National Heritage Area in the States of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, S.923 and H.R.1528, bills to amend the National Trails System Act to designate the New England National Scenic Trail, S.956, to establish the Land Between the Rivers National Heritage Area in the State of Illinois, S.2073, to amend the National Trails System Act relating to the statute of limitations that applies to certain claims, S.2513, to modify the boundary of the Minute Man National Historical Park, S.2604, to establish the Baltimore National Heritage Area in the State of Maryland, S.2804, to adjust the boundary of the Everglades National Park, H.R.53, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a long-term lease with the Government of the United States Virgin Islands to provide land on the island of Saint John, Virgin Islands, for the establishment of a school, and H.R.1483, to amend the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of1996 to extend the authorization for certain national heritage areas. 3:00 p.m. [SD-366]

House

April 24, 2008

Senate

  • Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
    Business meeting to consider pending calendar business; to be immediately followed by an oversight hearing to examine recommendations for improving the federal acknowledgment process. 9:00 a.m. [SD-562]
  • Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine addressing Iran's nuclear ambitions, focusing on policy options for the U.S. and its allies. 9:30 a.m. [SD-342]
  • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
    To hold hearings to examine implementing smart power, focusing on setting an agenda for national security reform. 9:30 a.m. [SD-419]
  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    To hold hearings to examine the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, focusing on its ability to keep America's families safe. 9:30 a.m. [SD-106]
  • Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    To hold hearings to examine U.S. credit markets, focusing on the U.S. regulatory framework for assessing sovereign investments. 10:00 a.m. [SD-538]
  • Senate Finance Committee
    To hold hearings to examine tax aspects of a cap-and-trade system. 10:00 a.m. [SD-215]
  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary
    Business meeting to consider S.2533, to enact a safe, fair, and responsible state secrets privilege Act, S.702, to authorize the Attorney General to award grants to State courts to develop and implement State courts interpreter programs, S.2840, to establish a liaison with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to expedite naturalization applications filed by members of the Armed Forces and to establish a deadline for processing such applications, S.Res.511, recognizing that John Sidney McCain, III, is a natural born citizen, H.Con.Res.292, honoring Margaret Truman Daniel and her lifetime of accomplishments, S.Res.515, commemorating the life and work of Dith Pran, and the nominations of Michael G. McGinn, to be United States Marshal for the District of Minnesota, Ralph E. Martinez, of Florida, to be a Member of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States, both of the Department of Justice, Mark S. Davis, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, David Gregory Kays, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Missouri, and Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. 10:00 a.m. [SD-226]
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations, Military Construction and Veterans' Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2009 for military construction. 10:00 a.m. [SD-124]
  • Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics, and Related Agencies
    Business meeting to consider S.2688, to improve the protections afforded under Federal law to consumers from contaminated seafood by directing the Secretary of Commerce to establish a program, in coordination with other appropriate Federal agencies, to strengthen activities for ensuring that seafood sold or offered for sale to the public in or affecting interstate commerce is fit for human consumption, S.J.Res.28, disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to broadcast media ownership, S.2607, to make a technical correction to section 3009 of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, S.2507, to address the digital television transition in border states, H.R.3985, to amend title 49, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Transportation to register a person providing transportation by an over-the-road bus as a motor carrier of passengers only if the person is willing and able to comply with certain accessibility requirements in addition to other existing requirements, H.R.802, to amend the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships to implement MARPOL Annex VI, S.2657, to require the Secretary of Commerce to prescribe regulations to reduce the incidence of vessels colliding with North Atlantic right whales by limiting the speed of vessels, S.2482, to repeal the provision of title 46, United States Code, requiring a license for employment in the business of salvaging on the coast of Florida, the nomination of Robert A. Sturgell, of Maryland, to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, and certain promotion lists in the U.S. Coast Guard. 10:30 a.m. [SR-253]
  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine the Delta-Northwest airlines merger. 2:00 p.m. [SD-226]
  • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
    To hold hearings to examine international debt, focusing on building relief initiatives. 2:00 p.m. [SD-419]
  • Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine reforming export licensing agencies for national security and economic interests, focusing on the structure of the Federal government's agencies that are responsible for licensing controlled exports, the process in place for licensing, how the structures help or hinder their decision making for licenses, human capital challenges of the export control bureaucracy, and the recommendations for improving the export control processes and personal. 2:00 p.m. [SD-342]
  • Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Water and Power Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine S.2680, to amend the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992 to require the Secretary of the Interior to take certain actions to address environmental problems associated with the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel in the State of Colorado, S.2805, to direct the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Commissioner of Reclamation, to assess the irrigation infrastructure of the Rio Grande Pueblos in the State of New Mexico and provide grants to, and enter into cooperative agreements with, the Rio Grande Pueblos to repair, rehabilitate, or reconstruct existing infrastructure, S.2814, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide financial assistance to the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority for the planning, design, and construction of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System, H.R.29, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct facilities to provide water for irrigation, municipal, domestic, military, and other uses from the Santa Margarita River, California, H.R.1803, to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a feasibility study to design and construct a four reservoir intertie system for the purposes of improving the water storage opportunities, water supply reliability, and water yield of San Vicente, El Capitan, Murray, and Loveland Reservoirs in San Diego County, California in consultation and cooperation with the City of San Diego and the Sweetwater Authority, and H.R.123, to authorize appropriations for the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund. 2:15 p.m. [SD-366]
  • Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics, and Related Agencies, Science, Technology, and Innovation Subcommittee
    To hold hearings to examine national nanotechnology, focusing on charting the course for reauthorization. 2:30 p.m. [SR-253]
  • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
    To hold closed hearings to examine certain intelligence matters. 2:30 p.m. [SH-219]

House

April 25, 2008

Senate