Congresspedia Preview: This Week in Congress (Feb. 29 - March 7, 2008)

The House and Senate will begin laying the groundwork for the 2009 federal budget this week, with proposals coming from the Senate Finance Committee and from the House and Senate budget and appropriations committees. Also this week, a compromise might be reached on electronic surveillance, with some saying a bill could head to the President by the end of next week.

The budget proposals — to be unveiled on Wednesday — are produced with two separate frameworks: each resolution is non-binding, but includes policy priorities in “reserve funds” and “reconciliation” instructions. Reconciliation instructions are provided to authorizing committees, which then produce a set dollar amount to fund policy priorities based on spending and taxation. The reserve funds, on the other hand, must follow “paygo” rules, and be offset by revenue increases or spending cuts.

Bush Administration officials have already threatened a veto for any budget proposals that exceeds the president' spending goals.

More on FISA, ethics reform, consumer protection and the week's committee schedules below...

The FISA reform debate continues unabated: House and Senate Democrats are meeting this week to discuss ways of reaching a deal on the RESTORE Act, a permanent electronic surveillance reform. A House bill — approved last year — includes additional oversight of the nation’s intelligence gathering apparatus. The Senate version provides for legal immunity for phone companies that helped the government listen in on Americans without a warrant, a possible violation of American civil rights over which dozens of lawsuits have already been filed. Meetings to reconcile the two bills will continue on Wednesday.

Partisan debate continues in the Senate over legislation to strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A comprehensive bill is advancing, though Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is expected to try to substitute the watered-down House version after cloture is invoked. That would strip whistle-blower protections and modify the the role states' attorneys general could play.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) has offered some refinements to his proposal for an independent House ethics watchdog. A vote on an earlier draft was postponed last week over objections from Democrats and Republicans. One change would require at least one member from each party to initiate an ethics review, while a third member would have to sign on before a review could proceed to a second level.

Hearing Schedules

March 4, 2008

Senate

House

March 5, 2008

Senate

  • Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
    To hold hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2009 for the Department of Energy. 9:30 a.m. [SD-124]
  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    Business meeting to consider S.579, to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to make grants for the development and operation of research centers regarding environmental factors that may be related to the etiology of breast cancer, S.1810, to amend the Public Health Service Act to increase the provision of scientifically sound information and support services to patients receiving a positive test diagnosis for Down syndrome or other prenatal and postnatal diagnosed conditions, S.999, to amend the Public Health Service Act to improve stroke prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, S.1760, to amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to the Healthy Start Initiative, H.R.20, to provide for research on, and services for individuals with, postpartum depression and psychosis, and S.1042, to amend the Public Health Service Act to make the provision of technical services for medical imaging examinations and radiation therapy treatments safer, more accurate, and less costly, and any pending nominations. [SD-430] -- Mar 5, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.
    S. 579: Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act of 2007
    S. 1810: Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act
    S. 999: Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act of 2007
    S. 1760: Healthy Start Reauthorization Act of 2007
    H.R. 20: Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act
    S. 1042: Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act of 2007
    10:00 a.m. [SD-430]
  • Senate Committee on Armed Services
    To hold hearings to examine the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2009, for the Department of the Air Force, and the future years defense program. 9:30 a.m. [SH-216]
  • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
    To hold hearings to examine strengthening national security, focusing on smart power and military perspective. 9:30 a.m. [SD-419]
  • Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    To hold hearings to examine census in peril, focusing on getting the 2010 decennial back on track. 9:30a.m. [SD-342]
  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary
    To continue oversight hearings to examine the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 10 a.m. [SD-106]
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense
    To hold hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2009 for the Department of the Navy. 10:30 a.m. [SD-192]
  • Senate Special Committee on Aging
    To hold hearings to examine elderly hunger in America, focusing on the steps needed to prevent this now and in the future.
    10:30 a.m.[SD-562]
  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    To hold hearings to examine the rising cost of heating homes, focusing on Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). 10:30 a.m. [SD-430]
  • Senate Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Personnel
    To hold hearings to examine the findings and recommendations of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, the Army's Mental Health Advisory Team reports, and Department of Defense and service-wide improvements in mental health resources, including suicide prevention, for service members and their families. 2:30 p.m. [SR-232A]
  • Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security
    To hold hearings to examine the state of the United States Postal Service one year after reform. 2:30 p.m. [SD-342]
  • Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
    To hold an oversight hearing to examine the initial amendment between the United States and the Russian Federation on the Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Investigation on Uranium from the Russian Federation. 3:00 p.m. [SD-366]
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
    To hold hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2009 for the Department of Treasury. 3:00 p.m. [SD-138]

House

March 6, 2008

Senate

  • Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
    To hold joint hearings with the House Veterans Affairs Committee to examine a sundry of associations outlook on veterans affairs issues 9:30 a.m. [345-CHOB]
  • Senate Committee on Armed Services
    To hold hearings to examine the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2009 for the U.S. Southern and Northern Command, and the future years defense program. 9:30 a.m. [SH-216]
  • Senate Joint Economic Committee
    To hold hearings with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee of Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia to examine investing in the future of the federal workforce, focusing on paid parental leave to improve recruitment and retention. 9:30 a.m. [2154-RHOB]
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    To hold hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2009 for the Department of Transportation. 10 a.m., [SD-192]
  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary
    Business meeting to consider S.2304, to amend title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide grants for the improved mental health treatment and services provided to offenders with mental illnesses, S.2449, to amend chapter 111 of title 28, United States Code, relating to protective orders, sealing of cases, disclosures of discovery information in civil actions, S.352, to provide for media coverage of Federal court proceedings, S.2136, to address the treatment of primary mortgages in bankruptcy, S.2133, to authorize bankruptcy courts to take certain actions with respect to mortgage loans in bankruptcy, S.2041, to amend the False Claims Act, S.2533, to enact a safe, fair, and responsible state secrets privilege Act, and the nominations of Kevin J. O'Connor, of Connecticut, to be Associate Attorney General, and Gregory G. Katsas, of Massachusetts, to be an Assistant Attorney General, both of the Department of Justice, Brian Stacy Miller, of to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas, James Randal Hall, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Georgia, William Joseph Hawe, to be United States Marshal for the Western District of Washington, Stanley Thomas Anderson, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, and John A. Mendez, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California.
    S. 2304: Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2007
    S. 2449: Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2007
    S. 352: Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2007
    S. 2136: Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act of 2007
    S. 2133: Home Owners' Mortgage and Equity Savings Act
    S. 2041: False Claims Act Correction Act of 2007
    S. 2533: State Secrets Protection Act
    10 a.m. [SD-226]
  • Senate Finance Committee
    To hold hearings to examine the Administration's 2008 trade agenda. 10 a.m. [SD-215]
  • Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    To hold hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2009 for the Department of Commerce. 10 a.m. [SD-138]
  • Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    To hold hearings to examine reforming the regulation of government sponsored enterprises. 10 a.m. [SD-538]
  • Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
    To hold hearings to examine the state of facilities in Indian country jails, schools, and health facilities. 10:00 a.m. [SD-628]
  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    To hold hearings to examine unemployment in the economy, focusing on ways to secure families and build opportunities. 10:00 a.m. [SD-430]
  • Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
    To hold hearings to examine the President's proposed budget request for fiscal year 2009 for the U.S. Coast Guard and conduct oversight. 10:30 a.m. [SR-253]
  • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
    To hold closed hearings to examine certain intelligence matters. 2:30 p.m. [SH-219]

House

March 7, 2008

Senate

House