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Posted at 06:27 AM ET, 06/20/2011

The week ahead on the Hill: Senate votes on Panetta, Petraeus testifies, and the Biden group steps up the pace (again)


(Melina Mara - THE WASHINGTON POST)
National security and deficit reduction – the two topics that have dominated the agenda on Capitol Hill over the past few months – continue to be in the spotlight this week.

No Libya-specific events are on the schedule, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has suggested that the lower chamber may consider taking up a measure this week aimed at defunding the U.S. military involvement in the country, setting up an escalation of the feud between members of Congress and the White House over the War Powers Act. The defense appropriations bill that will be on the floor for the latter part of the week would likely be the vehicle for any Libya-related measure.

In the Senate, leaders still haven’t gotten their act together on a Libya resolution, but some members, such as Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), have been increasingly vocal about their opposition to the three-month-long U.S. military operation. Will others follow?

Meanwhile, CIA Director Leon Panetta, who has been tapped by President Obama to succeed outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is up for a confirmation vote in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon. Panetta received bipartisan praise at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this month and appears all but assured to win confirmation on Tuesday. Even so, with the Senate being the Senate – and with tempers on the Hill simmering over the war in Afghanistan and the U.S. intervention in Libya – Panetta’s nomination vote will be one worth watching.

On Thursday afternoon, Gen. David Petraeus, the man Obama has tapped to succeed Panetta at the CIA, faces a confirmation hearing before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. In addition to questions directly related to his confirmation and intelligence matters, expect senators to press for details regarding the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, which is set to begin next month.

On the debt-ceiling front, the deficit-reduction group led by Vice President Joe Biden holds three (and possibly four) meetings at the Capitol this week. The bipartisan, bicameral negotiators are expected to begin tackling the tougher issues – namely, health care, revenue increases and entitlement reform.

If the civil tone that’s emerged thus far in the talks continues this week, it’s a sign that the negotiators may in fact be on track toward a deal. But as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) noted Sunday on “Face the Nation,” failure to secure a far-reaching deal could mean a debt-limit extension not for a year-and-a-half, but for only a few months – an outcome all parties have said they would prefer to avoid.

Also happening on and off the Hill this week are a number of events featuring Bush administration alumni. Former FEMA director Michael Brown holds a book event at the National Press Club on Tuesday night; former White House chief of staff Andy Card delivers remarks at a Chamber of Commerce event on Wednesday; former ambassador the United Nations John Bolton testifies on the Hill on Thursday; and former first lady Laura Bush hosts a discussion at the National Archives on Thursday evening.

Here’s a closer look at the week ahead:

Monday

The House in at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session, meaning no business is conducted. The Senate is in at 2 p.m.; no roll call votes are expected.

Committee hearings/other events:

9 a.m.: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D), Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) speak at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum on job creation.

11:30 a.m.: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius holds a news conference to make an announcement regarding Medicare and the preventative services of the Affordable Care Act.

2:30 p.m.: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) speaks at a United States Agency for International Development event on “Democracy, Rights and Governance: Today’s Challenges and Effective Responses” at the Arlington Hilton.

5:30 p.m.: The National Press Club holds a program on “Daring to Draw: An Evening with Political Cartoonists from Around the World.”

5:30 p.m.: NDN holds a discussion on demographic shifts in the Hispanic population and the implications for the 2012 elections.

5:30 p.m.: The New America Foundation holds a book launch and discussion on “Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights,” a book of essays on the future of journalism.

7 p.m.: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) speaks at a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference on the South China Sea.

Tuesday

The House is in at noon. At 6:30 p.m., votes under suspension of the rules are expected on five measures: four post-office namings and H.R. 672, a measure that would eliminate the Election Assistance Commission.

The Senate meets in the morning (time TBA) and proceeds at 11 a.m. to executive session to consider a judicial nomination, with a vote expected around noon. At about 4:15 p.m., a vote is expected on the nomination of Panetta to be defense secretary. A vote to end debate on S.782, the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011, is expected immediately after the Panetta vote. If the measure does not pass the 60-vote threshold needed to end debate, the Senate is expected to then vote on ending debate on the motion to proceed to S.679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011.

Committee hearings/other events:

8 a.m.: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks at the Wall Street Journal’s 2011 CFO Network conference at the Park Hyatt. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) addresses the conference at 12:30 p.m., and Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) deliver remarks at 4:30 p.m.

10 a.m.: The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion on “Saving Social Security.”

10 a.m.: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on the nominations of: Anne Patterson to be ambassador to Egypt, Michael Corbin to be ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Matthew Tueller to be ambassador to Kuwait.

Noon: The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a forum on “Washington’s Ethics Wars: How We Fix the Process.”

12:30 p.m.: Senate Democrats and Republicans hold their weekly caucus lunches.

2 p.m.: The National Press Club Newsmaker Program holds a discussion on raising the debt limit with Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.).

2 p.m.: The Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing on the “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy” report.

2:30 p.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing on the nominations of John Bryson to be commerce secretary and Terry Garcia to be deputy commerce secretary.

2:30 p.m.: The Senate Select Intelligence Committee holds a closed-door hearing.

3 p.m.: The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on “The Hatch Act: The Challenges of Separating Politics from Policy.”

6:30 p.m.: Former FEMA Director Michael Brown discusses his new book, “Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond” at the National Press Club.

Wednesday

The House is in session at 10 a.m. Three measures are on the agenda: H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act; H.R. 2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011; and H.R. 2219, the 2012 defense appropriations bill. There is also a possibility that the House may take up legislation related to H.R. 658, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act. The Senate is also in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

8 a.m.: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and others address the National Conference of Black Mayors’ Legislative Policy Summit at the Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC 201-00.

9:30 a.m.: The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on the 2011 Medicare Trustees Report.

10 a.m.: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies at a House Small Business Committee hearing on the state of small business access to capital and credit.

10 a.m.: A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on “Protecting Medicare with Improvements to the Secondary Payer Regime.”

10:15 a.m.: The Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing on “Manufacturing in the USA: Why We Need a National Manufacturing Strategy?” Among those testifying are Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate’s agriculture committee, and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

10:30 a.m.: A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on 2012 defense appropriations.

12:30 p.m.: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) discusses “Uncle Sam Can Learn Self-Control: How Congress Can Control Runaway Spending,” at a forum hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

1:30 p.m.: A House Oversight subcommittee holds a hearing on “Lasting Implications of The General Motors Bailout.”

2 p.m.: Former senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and former White House chief of staff Andy Card speak at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum on “the need to balance in the regulatory process.”

Thursday

The House is in session at 10 a.m. to continue working on the three bills it began considering Wednesday. The Senate is also in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

9:45 a.m.: The New America Foundation holds a discussion on “Show Me the Missions: Deficits and Defense.”

10 a.m.: The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing to discuss the potential role of Medicare and Medicaid reform in the deficit-reduction effort.

10 a.m.: Bolton, the former ambassador to the U.N., testifies at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on “Iran and Syria: Next Steps.”

10 a.m.: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing to mark up the nominations of William Burns to be deputy secretary of State; Gary Locke to be ambassador to China; and Ryan Crocker to be ambassador to Afghanistan. Following the markup, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on “Evaluating Goals and Progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

10 a.m.: The House Budget Committee holds a hearing on the “Congressional Budget Office’s Long-Term Budget Outlook.”

11:30 a.m.: The Center for American Progress holds a forum with Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and James McGovern (D-Mass.) on “The Politics and Policy of Future American Involvement in Afghanistan.”

Noon: Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) speaks at a Conservative Women’s Network luncheon at the Heritage Foundation.

1:30 p.m.: The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on “Social Security’s Finances.”

2 p.m.: A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on “Investigating the Gold: H.R.1495, the Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2011 and the Oversight of United States Gold Holdings.”

2 p.m.: A House Ways and Means subcommittee holds a hearing on “Tax Reform and Foreign Investment in the United States.”

2:15 p.m.: A Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee holds a hearing on “Rebuilding Haiti in the Martelly Era.”

2:30 p.m.: Petraeus testifies at a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination to be CIA director.

2:30 p.m.: A House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee holds a hearing on “Arlington National Cemetery: An Update from the New Administration.”

6 p.m.: Microsoft sponsors a “Capitol Hill Family Game Night” event in the Rayburn House Office Building foyer.

7 p.m.: Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) speaks at the Maryland Republican Party’s annual Red, White and Blue Dinner in Baltimore.

7 p.m.: Former first lady Laura Bush discusses her memoir, “Spoken from the Heart,” and other topics at a National Archives event.

Friday

The House is in session at 9 a.m. Last votes are expected at 3 p.m. The Senate is in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

9:30 a.m.: A House Oversight subcommittee holds a hearing on “Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority: Is There a Security Gap?”

10 a.m.: A House Natural Resources subcommittee holds a hearing on “Why We Should Care About Bats: Devastating Impact White-Nose Syndrome is Having on One of Nature’s Best Pest Controllers.”

1 p.m.: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairwoman Sheila Bair addresses a National Press Club luncheon.

6 p.m.: Authors Marvin and Deborah Kalb and former “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel speak at a National Press Club discussion on “Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama.”

Correction: Earlier versions of this post incorrectly referred to a defense appropriations bill as a defense authorization bill.

By  |  06:27 AM ET, 06/20/2011

 
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