By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas
The House and Senate have yet to reconcile their versions of an Iraq/Afghanistan war spending supplemental, though the House should take up the measure again this week. The level of domestic spending in the bill is the sticking point, so look for debate on offsets and unemployment insurance. Meanwhile, the Senate will consider a package of energy legislation, and might get to tax legislation already approved by the House.
Extended unemployment insurance has been a priority for majority Democrats all year, especially in the Senate: it was originally in that chamber’s economic stimulus package. Though the benefits were not included in the measure signed by President Bush in February, the Senate majority leadership has continued to promote them.
When time came to debate a new spending supplemental for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) saw an opportunity to include domestic priorities in what the White House has traditionally called must-pass legislation. Extended unemployment insurance was one such measure attached to the defense spending.
The snag: a new House “pay as you go” rule enacted to reign in spiraling costs: all new spending would have to be offset, either by raising taxes or trimming programs elsewhere. And while the Iraq supplemental is treated as “emergency” spending – it’s outside the normal budget process – that hasn’t stopped conservative House Democrats from trying to enforce the spirit of “pay-go.” That presents a problem for Pelosi, because Reid said the offsets won’t make it through the Senate.
This week, the House will debate whether to include the benefits, which received an additional endorsement this weekend from Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
The Senate this week will begin consideration of the Consumer-First Energy Act, a series of measures that would take a bite out of the oil industry’s profits and repeal tax breaks those companies currently receive. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, especially due to a provision allowing the U.S. to seek legal damages from OPEC for oil-related market manipulation.
June 10, 2008
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security to hold hearings to examine national strategies for efficient freight movement, 2:30 p.m., SR-253.
- Select Committee on Intelligence to hold closed hearings to examine certain intelligence matters, 2:30 p.m., SH-219.
- Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to continue hearings to examine U.S. credit markets, focusing on the securities underwriting practices at investment banks, 10 a.m., SD-538.
- Committee on the Judiciary to hold hearings to examine the efficacy of coercive interrogation techniques, focusing on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) role, 10 a.m., SD-226.
- Committee on Finance to hold hearings to examine issues relative to the 47 million Americans without health care insurance, focusing on the current health care marketplace, 10 a.m., SD-215.
- Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law hearing on Electronic Employment Verification Systems: Needed Safeguards to Protect Privacy and Prevent Misuse, 9 a.m., 2141 Rayburn.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Examining Grant making Practices at the Department of Justice, 10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn.
- Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs oversight hearing on the Implementation of the Compact of Free Associations Between the United States and the Republic of Palau, 10 a.m., 1324 Longworth.
- Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on H.R. 6126, Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008, 2 p.m., 2141 Rayburn.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs hearing on Oversight of U.S. Efforts to Train and Equip Police and Enhance the Justice System in Afghanistan, 2 p.m., 2247 Rayburn.
- Committee on Rules to consider H.R. 6063, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008, 4 p.m., H-313 Capitol.
June 11, 2008
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Hearings to examine sovereign wealth funds, focusing on foreign policy consequences in an era of new money. 9:30 am SD-419
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearings to examine short-change for consumers and short-shrift for Congress, focusing on the Supreme Court's treatment of laws that protect Americans health, safety, jobs, and retirement. SD-226 10:00 am
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearings to examine the nominations of Paul G. Gardephe, and Cathy Seibel, both to be a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, Kiyo A. Matsumoto, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, and Glenn T. Suddaby, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York. SD-226 2:00 pm
- Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Hearings to examine the impact and policy implications of spyware on consumers and businesses.SR-253 3:00 pm
- Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight to mark up Subcommittee Report on The Decline in America's Reputation: Why?; followed by a hearing on the Release and Review of the Subcommittee Report: The Decline in America's Reputation: Why?, 9:30 a.m., 2172 Rayburn.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives joint hearing on 2010 Census: Assessing the Census Bureau's Progress, 10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn.
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing on Rebuilding Vessels Under the Jones Act, 10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn.
- Committee on Financial Services hearing on H.R. 6078, GREEN Act of 2008, 10 a.m., 2128 Rayburn.
- Committee on Natural Resources to mark up the following bills: H.R. 3981, Preserve America and Save America's Treasures Act; H.R. 5451, Coastal Zone Reauthorization Act of 2008; H.R. 4199, To amend the Dayton Aviation Heritage Preservation Act of 1992 to add sites to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park; H.R. 2964, Captive Primate Safety Act; H.R. 5741, Shark Conservation Act of 2008; H.R. 1423, Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center Lease Act; H.R. 3702, Montana Cemetery Act of 2007; H.R. 5710, Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System Authorization Act; and H.R. 5511, Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel Remediation Act of 2008, 11 a.m., 1324 Longworth.
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, June 11, Subcommittee on Aviation hearing on Air Traffic Control Facility Staffing, 2 p.m., 2167 Rayburn.
- Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property hearing on H.R. 4789, Performance Rights Act, 2 p.m., 2141 Rayburn.
- Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere hearing on the New Challenge: China and the Western Hemisphere, 2 p.m., 2172 Rayburn.
June 12, 2008
- Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Hearings to examine the condition of our nation's infrastructure, focusing on perspectives from our nation's mayors. SD-538 10:00 am
- Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Hearings to examine supply chain security, focusing on the secure freight initiative and the implementation of 100 percent scanning. SR-253 10:00 am
- Senate Committee on Finance An oversight hearing to examine the United States Trade Preference programs. SD-215 10:00 am
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary Business meeting to consider S.2979, H.R. 5690, S. 2892, H.R. 3480, S.1211, S. Res. 576. SD-226 10:00 am
- Joint Economic Committee Hearings to examine the future costs of funding the war in Iraq. 10:00 am SD-106
- Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources An oversight hearing to examine the relationship between United States fuels policy and food prices. SD- 366 2:15 pm
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Hearings to examine energy from Central Asia to Europe, focusing on oil, oligarchs, and opportunity.2:30 SD-419
- Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security Hearings to examine addressing the United States-Pakistan strategic relationship. 2:30 pm SD-342
- House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, to mark up the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2009, time and place to be announced.
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials hearing on the following bills: H.R. 5533, Chemical Facilities Act of 2008; and H.R. 5577, Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008, 10 a.m., 2322 Rayburn.
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing entitled ``American Lives Still at Risk: When Will FDA's Food Protection Plan Be Fully Funded and Implemented?'' 10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn.
- House Committee on Foreign Affairs Full Committee, hearing on Russia, Iran, and Nuclear Weapons: Implications of the Proposed U.S.-Russia Agreement, 9:30 a.m., 2172 Rayburn.
- House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment hearing on U.S.-Japan Relations: An Overview, 2 p.m., 2172 Rayburn.
- House Committee on Homeland Security full Committee, hearing entitled ``The Challenge of Aligning Programs, Personnel, and Resources to Achieve Border Security,'' 10 a.m., 311 Cannon.
- House Committee on the Judiciary: Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hearing on the Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, 10 a.m., 2141 Rayburn.
- House Committee on Natural Resources: Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources oversight hearing on Spinning Straw Into Black Gold: Enhanced Oil Recovery Using Carbon Dioxide, 10 a.m., 1334 Longworth.
- House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs oversight hearing on the Implementation of the Compact of Free Associations Between the United States and the Republic of Palau, 10 a.m., 1324 Longworth.