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Posted at 09:05 AM ET, 04/11/2011

The week ahead on the Hill: Two budgets on the floor and dueling messages on the deficit

A statue of Mother Joseph, from Washington state, gazes toward the great dome in Emancipation Hall. (Bill O'Leary - WASHINGTON POST)
Last week saw the heated rhetoric on the fiscal year 2011 and 2012 federal budgets collide on Capitol Hill. This week will see the legislative efforts on both measures come to a head.

On Wednesday, the House votes on the $38 billion in cuts for the rest of the current fiscal year that were agreed to by President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) late Friday.

The measure is expected to pass with bipartisan support. But, worth watching: How many (and which) House Republicans are likely to defect? Will House Republicans need Democratic votes to pass the bill? And will the House Democratic leadership be fully on board? (House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has yet to say whether she’ll back the deal.)

The funding measure must pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by Friday in order to (yet again) avert a shutdown.

Wednesday’s vote comes on the day that Obama is expected to lay out his new deficit-reduction plan in a speech to the nation.

Then, on Thursday and Friday, the House will take up Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) 2012 budget proposal, along with several alternate plans put forth by the Republican Study Committee, the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the House Democratic leadership.

The votes will be a gauge of whether most House Republicans see the Ryan plan as an asset (a bold step toward addressing the nation’s debt crisis) or a liability (a proposal that would leave members vulnerable to charges from Democrats that they want to dismantle the country’s entitlement programs).

Other events happening this week before members of both chambers leave town for a two-week recess: Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele speaks Monday morning at a Newseum event on race and politics; Bob Dole, Al Gore, Russ Feingold and Deval Patrick are in town; and The Fix’s not-to-be-missed Politics and Pints is tonight!

A closer look at the week ahead:


The House meets at 11 p.m. for a pro forma session (unlike regular House sessions, a pro forma session is a meeting during which no legislative business is typically conducted).

The purpose of the session is to ensure that the budget deal -- which is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday -- will have been made public for three calendar days before it’s up for a vote, in keeping with the new House rules instituted by Republicans this Congress.

The Senate is not in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

8:30 a.m.: The Aspen Institute and the Comcast Corporation hold a symposium on “The State of Race in America” at the Newseum. At 11:15 a.m., former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and others participate in a panel on “Political Factors”; at 3:25 p.m., Spike Lee, MSNBC’s Richard Lui and others participate in a discussion on “Media and Popular Culture.”

8:30 a.m.: Former senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and others deliver remarks at the American Hospital Association’s annual meeting at the Hilton Washington.

Noon: The Foreign Ministry of Qatar and the Brookings’ Saban Center for Middle East Policy hold a news conference at the National Press Club to release poll results on American attitudes toward the Arab and Islamic worlds.

12:30 p.m.: Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) speaks at an NDN luncheon.

2:15 p.m.: Libyan National Council Representative Ali Aujali and former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz speak at an American Enterprise Institute discussion on the conflict in Libya.

7 p.m.: The Fix posse hosts their monthly Politics and Pints trivia night at Capitol Lounge. Bring a team or join one onsite, and sign up on Facebook here.


The House is in at 12 p.m. to consider two measures: a courthouse naming and a bill to extend the termination date of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission. The Senate is in at 10 a.m. to consider two judicial nominations.

Committee hearings/other events:

7:45 a.m.: Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and others speak at a National Press Club event on environmental policy.

8 a.m.: Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) participates in a National Defense University Foundation discussion on Iran at the Capitol Hill Club.

8:30 a.m.: Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and John Thune (R-S.D.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) deliver remarks at the American Hospital Association’s annual meeting at the Hilton Washington.

9 a.m.: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) delivers a speech on the federal budget at the Center for American Progress.

9:30 a.m.: Former senators Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and retired Gen. Jim Jones speak at a Bipartisan Policy Center news conference on energy.

10 a.m.: Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) speak at a Progressive Policy Institute/Moment of Truth Project event on tax reform at Johns Hopkins University.

10 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing on natural gas drilling.

10 a.m.: A Senate Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on “The Fair Elections Now Act: A Comprehensive Response to Citizens United.”

10:30 a.m.: The Interior Department holds a ceremony at the World War II Memorial to dedicate a plaque honoring former Senate Majority Leader and World War II veteran Bob Dole (R-Kan.).

11 a.m.: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and others speak at a U.S.-Islamic World Forum at the Mandarin Oriental.

12 p.m.: The Institute for Policy Studies holds a rally in front of the White House on “the trade-off between defense and social spending.”

12:30 p.m.: Senate Democrats and Republicans hold their weekly policy luncheons.

1:30 p.m.: The U.S. Conference of Mayors holds a National Press Club screening of “Recall Fever,” a documentary on local recall elections.

2:15 p.m.: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets to mark up a resolution honoring the women of the Middle East and North Africa.

2:45 p.m.: The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law.

2:45 p.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing on the nuclear emergency in Japan and its implications for the U.S.


The House is in at 10 a.m. to consider two bills: the budget deal containing $38 billion in cuts and a bill that would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The Senate is also in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

8 a.m.: Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) delivers remarks at the American Cable Association’s summit at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

8:40 a.m.: The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission holds a hearing on “China’s Foreign Policy: Challenges and Players” in the Hart Senate Office Building.

10 a.m.: The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on “Perspectives on Deficit Reduction.”

10 a.m.: The House Natural Resources Committee meets to mark up “Gas Price Legislation.”

10 a.m.: A House Agriculture subcommittee holds a hearing on “Implementing Dodd-Frank: A Review of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Rulemaking Process.”

10 a.m.: The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on comprehensive tax reform.

11:45 a.m.: Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) speaks at a National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training event in the Hart Senate Office Building.

Noon: Former senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and others speak at the National Press Club for the Nation Institute and the Fertel Foundation’s Ridenhour Prize ceremony.

Noon: The Congressional Progressive Caucus holds a news conference introducing its proposed fiscal year 2012 budget.

1 p.m.: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) and others speak at a Center for American Progress event on “Proof that Health Care Reform Works: Experience From Massachusetts.”

2 p.m.: Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), the secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, testifies at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

2 p.m.: A House Intelligence subcommittee holds a hearing on the Muslim Brotherhood.

2:15 p.m.: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) speak at a U.S.-Islamic World Forum at the Mandarin Oriental.

2:30 p.m.: A House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee holds a hearing on “Shifting Sands: Political Transitions in the Middle East, Part 1.”


The House is in at 10 a.m. to take up Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) 2012 budget proposal. Alternate budget proposals will also be considered. The Senate is also in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

10 a.m.: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a hearing on federal regulation.

10:30 a.m.: A House Administration subcommittee holds a hearing on a measure to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission.

2:30 p.m. A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on 2012 budget estimates for the Secretary of the Senate, the Senate Sergeant at Arms and the United States Capitol Police.

6:30 p.m.: Hope for the Warriors holds a gala at Union Station with actor Gary Sinise to honor wounded service members.


The House is in at 9 a.m. to complete work on the fiscal year 2012 budget, with last votes expected no later than 3 p.m. The Senate is also in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

11 a.m.: The Reserve Officers Association and the Institute for the Study of War hold a discussion on “Iraq’s Fragile Transition.”

1 p.m.: The Center for American Progress holds a discussion on “What do the Popular Uprisings in the Middle East Mean for the Future of Political Islam?”

4 p.m.: Georgetown University Law Center hosts an event featuring “Individuals Who Played Key Roles in the Clinton-Starr Battles That Nearly Destroyed the Clinton Presidency.”

5:30 p.m.: New York Times Pentagon reporter Elizabeth Bumiller discusses the U.S. involvement in Libya at an event at the Academy for Education Development.

6:30 p.m.: Former Vice President Al Gore and former White House adviser Van Jones deliver remarks at an Energy Action Coalition conference at the Washington Convention Center.

By  |  09:05 AM ET, 04/11/2011

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