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Correction to This Article
A Washington Monday item in the Jan. 28 A-section incorrectly said that the current Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorization will expire Feb. 1. What is set to expire that day is the Protect America Act, an electronic surveillance law that updates FISA.
THE WEEK

An insider's guide to the upcoming week

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Stimulating Discussion

Last week, discussion focused on how soon government checks could be in the mail after the House and the Bush administration agreed on an economic stimulus package.

Now, enter the economists to explain how it might work. A lot of them.

Tomorrow morning, former treasury secretary Lawrence H. Summers; Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and others will discuss fiscal policy before the House Budget Committee. This return visit to the Hill for Summers is likely to be a positive session: The former Clinton secretary testified Jan. 16 before the Joint Economic Committee and began with the affirmation, "Is fiscal stimulus desirable at present? Yes."

On Wednesday, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a stimulus hearing with witnesses including Princeton economist Alan Blinder and analyst Mark Zandi, of Moody's Economy.com.

Comptroller General David M. Walker will testify to the Senate Budget Committee tomorrow about his long-term outlook. Don't expect a rosy forecast: Earlier this month, Walker told an economic conference in Florida, "We've got to reform our tax system. It's not equitable. It's not adequate."

And President Bush will weigh in on the bottom line tomorrow as well, from the Robinson Helicopter Co. in Torrance, Calif.

Aye to Spy? This afternoon, the Senate will vote on whether to cut off debate about reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is working against the motion, and it is expected that Republicans will not have the 60 votes needed to end the discussion. One sticking point for the Democrats continues to be Republicans' insistence on immunity for telecom companies facing lawsuits for their alleged role in the government's warrantless eavesdropping program.

The current FISA authorization will expire on Friday, and Bush warned Congress not to try sending him another temporary extension.

A Place of 'Honor': The biggest event on Washington's to-do list this week is tonight's State of the Union address. The speech always features a few special guests of the president, seated in the House gallery, who can expect to be recognized by name, to get a few seconds on national television and to receive a hearty round of applause from the assembled dignitaries.

Last year, those guests included Wesley Autrey, the man who jumped onto Manhattan subway tracks on Jan. 2, 2007, to save a man from an oncoming train.

"It was an honor to be there. I was just an ordinary citizen who did an extraordinary thing," Autrey recalled yesterday.

Will he tune in to see who gets the honor this year? "If I'm free, I'll watch. I don't know my schedule yet. I'm so busy, I barely have time for myself or my daughters," he said.

Autrey steered clear of a question about Bush's past year. "Politics is an area I don't like to speak on. I don't like stepping on anyone's toes; it could come back to bite you," he said. But he added that he hopes that Bush will touch on foreign policy. "My number one thing I would like is world peace, so I hope that something he says would be concerning our troops."

By Rachel Dry


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