With three weeks left before the August recess, both parties are scrambling to pass something - anything - addressing the two issues at the fore of everyone's minds and evening newscasts: the housing/mortgage crisis and high gas prices. The former seems to be a broad-based, serious effort that may help the situation, but the latter has devolved into the usual kabuki political theater.
The major housing/mortgage crisis relief bill may receive final votes in both the House and Senate this week. The Bush administration asked Congress last week to include help for government-sponsored mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the form of a higher credit limit with the U.S. Treasury and the possibility of a government buy-up of their stock. In exchange, congressional Democrats reiterated their support for a $4 billion program to provide funding to local governments to buy up, refurbish and sell foreclosed homes, which President Bush had previously threatened to veto the bill over. Now it's a question of who blinks first.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are also each trying to pass their own legislation to address high gas prices. Democrats have decided to target oil speculators through bills like the Energy Markets Emergency Act of 2008 while also trying to freeze out efforts by Republicans to open the Outer Continental Shelf and Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. Neither approach is likely to have much effect on gas prices in either the long or short run, however, so at this point both parties are just trying to avoid the wrath of voters and head into the August recess having passed something (or at least have a good story about the obstructionism of the other side).
The House will also likely take up the global aids funding bill passed by the Senate last week and consider a $1 billion, 10-year plan to systematically inspect and repair the nation's bridges and tunnels.
Complete schedules of the week's committee hearings are beyond the jump.
July 22, 2008
- Committee on Armed Services - Hearings to examine the nominations of Michael Bruce Donley, of Virginia, to be Secretary, General Norton A. Schwartz, for reappointment to the grade of general and to be Chief of Staff, and General Duncan J. McNabb, for reappointment to the grade of general and to be Commander, United States Transportation Command, all of the United States Air Force. SR-325 9:30 am
- Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Hearings to examine ways for America to gain energy security. SD-106 9:30 am
- Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearings to examine global warming, focusing on an update on the science and its implications. SD-406 10:00 am
- Senate Committee on Finance Hearings to examine Indian governments and the tax code, focusing on maximizing tax incentives for economic development. SD-215 10:00 am
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia - Hearings to examine improving performance relating to a review of pay-for-performance systems in the Federal Government. SD-342 2;00 pm
- Senate Select Committee on Intelligence - Closed hearings to examine certain intelligence matters. SH-219 2:30 pm
- Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe - Hearings to examine Kazakhstan's preparation for its future Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSEC) region in 2010, focusing on plans, priorities, and challenges that face the region. RHOB-B318 3:00 pm
- Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet - Hearing entitled "Issues in Telecommunications Competition,'' and on H.R. 3914, Protecting Consumers through Proper Forbearance Procedures Act, 2 p.m., 2123 Rayburn.
- Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health - Hearing entitled ``State Fiscal Relief: Protecting Health Coverage in an Economic Downturn,'' 2 p.m., 2322 Rayburn.
- Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Military Personnel - Hearing on Army Medical Action Plan: Is it Working,? 2 p.m., 2212 Rayburn.
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management - Hearing on Union Station: A Comprehensive hearing on the Private Management, the Public Space, and the Intermodal Uses Present and Future, 10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn.
July 23, 2008
- Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearings to examine the midwest floods, focusing in ways to determine what happened and how to improve managing risk and responses in the future. SD-406 9:30 am.
- Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs - An oversight hearing to examine the Department of Veterans Affairs, focusing on responding to the needs of returning United States Guard and Reserve members. SR-418 9:30 am
- Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources - Hearings to examine the status of existing federal programs targeted at reducing gasoline demand, focusing on additional proposals for near-term gasoline demand reductions. SD-366 9:45 am
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations - Hearings to examine the nominations of James Christopher Swan, of California, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, Alan W. Eastham, Jr., of Arkansas, to be Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo, and W. Stuart Symington, of Missouri, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda, all of the Department of State. SD-419 10:00 am
- Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs - Hearings to examine information sharing, focusing on connecting the dots at the Federal, State, and Local levels. SD-342 10:00 am
- Committee on the Judiciary - Hearings to examine courting big business, focusing on the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on corporate misconduct and laws regulating corporations. SD-226 10:00 am
- Joint Economic Committee - Hearings to examine skyrocketing household costs and falling home prices, focusing on ways to help American families out of this crisis. SD-608 10:00 am.
- Senate Committee on Appropriations - Oversight hearing to examine the adequacy of defense contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. SD-106 10:30 am
- Senate Special Committee on Aging - Hearings to examine person-centered care, focusing on reforming services and bringing elderly citizens back to the heart of society. SD-562 10:30 am
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary - Hearings to examine the nominations of J. Patrick Rowan, of Maryland, and Jeffrey Leigh Sedgwick, of Massachusetts, both to be an Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, and William B. Carr, Jr., of Pennsylvania, to be a Member of the United States Sentencing Commission. SD-226 2:00 pm.
- Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs - Hearings to examine the nominations of Carol A. Dalton, Anthony C. Epstein, and Heidi M. Pasichow, all of the District of Columbia, all to be an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. SD-342 2:30 pm
- Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: Subcommittee on Children and Families - Hearings to examine childhood obesity, focusing on declining health of America's next generation (Part II). SD-430 2:30 pm
- Committee on Armed Services - Hearing on the Comptroller General's progress report on Irag, 10 a.m., 2118 Rayburn.
- Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry - Hearing to review the short-and long-term costs of hunger in America, 10 a..m., 1300 Longworth.
- Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development, and Foreign Agriculture - Hearing to review the state of health care in rural areas and the role of federal programs in addressing rural health care needs, 2:30 p.m., 1300 Longworth.
- Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Military Personnel - Hearing on Don't Ask, Don't Tell Review, 2 p.m., 2118 Rayburn.
- Committee on Foreign Affairs - Hearing on China on the Eve of the Olympics, 9:30 a.m., 2172 Rayburn.
- Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight - Hearing and briefing on Possible Extension of the UN Mandate for Iraq: Options, 2 p.m., 2172 Rayburn.
- Committee on the Judiciary - Oversight hearing on the U.S. Department of Justice, 10:15 a.m., 2141 Rayburn.
- Committee on Natural Resources - Hearing to mark up the following bills, H.R. 5853, Minute Man National Historical Park Boundary Revision Act; H.R. 6177, Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River Extension Act of 2008; H.R. 6159, Deafy Glade Exchange Act; H.R. 1847, National Trails System Willing Seller Act; and H.R. 5335, To amend the National Trails System Act to provide for the inclusion of new trail segments, land components, and campgrounds associated with the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, and for other purposes, 11 a.m., 1324 Longworth.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs - Hearing entitled "AFRICOM: Rationales, Roles, and Progress on the Eve of Operations--Part 2,'' 10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn.
- Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment - Hearing on A National Water Initiative: Coordinating and Improving Federal Research on Water, 10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn.
- Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight - Hearing entitled "The Impact of Predators in Long-Term Care on Small Business Operators,'' 10 a.m., 1539 Rayburn.
- Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming - Hearing entitled "Immediate Relief from High Oil Prices: Deploying the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,'' 10 a.m., room to be announced.
July 24, 2008
- Senate Committee on Finance Hearings to examine the Cayman Islands, focusing on offshore tax issues. SD-215 10:00 am.
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery - Joint hearings with the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness to examine ways to ensure the delivery of donated goods to survivors of catastrophes. CHOB-311 10:00 am.
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearings to examine crimes associated with polygamy, focusing on the need for a coordinated state and federal response. SD-226 10:00 am.
- Economic Committee - Hearings to examine small market drugs, focusing on companies exploiting people with rare diseases. SD-106 10:00 am
- Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security Hearings to examine ways to improve federal program management using performance information. SD-342 2:30 pm
- Senate Special Committee on Intelligence - Closed hearings to examine certain intelligence matters. SH-219 2:30 pm
- Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research - Hearing to review Renewable Fuels Standard implementation and agriculture producer eligibility, 10 a.m., 1300 Longworth.
- Committee on Education and Labor - Hearing on the Benefits of Physical and Health Education for Our Nation's Children, 10 a.m., 2175 Rayburn.
- Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials - Hearing entitled ``Carbon Sequestration: Risks, Opportunities, and Protection of Drinking Water,'' 10 a.m., 2322 Rayburn.
- Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations - Hearing entitled "Long-Term Care Insurance: Are Consumers Protected for the Long Term?'' 10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn.
- Committee on Financial Services - Continued hearings entitled "Systemic Risk and the Financial Markets,'' 10 a.m., and to hold a hearing entitled ``Implications of a Weaker Dollar for Oil Prices and the U.S. Economy,'' 2 p.m., 2128 Rayburn.
- Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade - Hearing on Saving the NPT and the Nonproliferation Regime in an Era of Nuclear Renaissance, 11 a.m., 2172 Rayburn.
- Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties - Hearing on Lessons Learned from the 2004 Presidential Election, 1 p.m., 2141 Rayburn.
- Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law - Hearing on Immigration Raids: Postville and Beyond, 11 a.m., 1310 Longworth.
- Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans - Hearing on the following bills: H.R. 6537, Sanctuary Enhancement Act of 2008; and H.R. 6204, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve Boundary Modification Act, 10 a.m., 1334 Longworth.
- Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands - Oversight hearing on Expanding Access to Federal Lands for People with Disabilities, 10 a.m., 1324 Longworth.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing entitled "The Medicare Drug Benefit: Are Private Insurers Getting Good Discounts for the Taxpayer?'' 10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn.
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia - Hearing entitled ``The Three R's of the Postal Network Plan: Realignment, Right-Sizing, and Responsiveness,'' 2 p.m., 2154 Rayburn.
- Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation - Hearing on The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program: Strengthening Windstorm Hazard Mitigation, 10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn.
- Committee on Small Business - Hearing entitled "Economic Stimulus for Small Business: A Look Back and Assessing Need for Additional Relief,'' 10 a.m., 1539 Longworth.
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure - Hearing on FMCSA's Progress in Improving Medical Oversight of Commercial Drivers, 2 p.m., 2167 Rayburn.
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation - Hearing on Aviation Security: An Update, 10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn.
July 25, 2008
- Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Subcommittee on Investigations - Hearings to examine financial institutions located in offshore tax havens, focusing on ways to strengthen United States domestic and international tax enforcement efforts. SD-342 9:30 am