The Week May 19-26

Among the bills the House will consider is one commemorating the 60th anniversary of the commencement of carving the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Among the bills the House will consider is one commemorating the 60th anniversary of the commencement of carving the Crazy Horse Memorial. (By Doug Dreyer -- Associated Press)
  Enlarge Photo    
Monday, May 19, 2008

19-20On Monday, the House takes up a variety of conservation measures on a day in which 35 bills will be considered under suspension -- a rules gambit used to expeditiously give relatively uncontroversial legislation an up-or-down vote, with limited floor debate, no amendments and two-thirds support of lawmakers present required for passage.

Up for consideration are bills that recognize the necessity for the United States to maintain its leadership role in improving the health and promoting the resiliency of coral reef ecosystems; a joint resolution directing the United States to initiate international discussions to negotiate an agreement for managing migratory and transboundary fish stocks in the Arctic Ocean; a bill to assist in the conservation of rare felids and rare canids (the animal families that include cats and dogs, as well as wild cats, foxes and wolves); and a bill to assist in the conservation of cranes.

Also on the table: a bill honoring the 60th anniversary of the commencement of the carving of the Crazy Horse Memorial; a bill expressing support for the designation of May 13, 2008, as "Frank Sinatra Day" in honor of the dedication of the Sinatra commemorative stamp; and a bill honoring Arnold Palmer for his distinguished career in golf and his commitment to excellence and sportsmanship.

The review of bills under suspension will continue on Tuesday, when 20 more measures will be considered.

19-20Sneezing? Head aching? Congested? This time of year, such complaints are more likely to be symptoms of an allergic reaction to the Washington region's beautiful gardens and parkways, grown lush and thick because of the recent rains, than early hallmarks of influenza, a disease whose appearance peaks each year between November and March. That makes it a good time of year for scientists and physicians to review what they learned about the flu during its most recent season. The Infectious Diseases Society of America is holding a three-day conference on pandemic and seasonal influenza at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington. The meeting began yesterday and will continue through Tuesday. Topics being explored include developments in flu-vaccine research, the use of antivirals, educational efforts and surge capacity for patient care. 20.A more controversial hearing is guaranteed by the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, when at 10 a.m. it will take up the nomination of Steven C. Preston to be the new secretary of housing and urban development. Washingtonpost. com's Sharon McLoone reports that Preston, who sailed through his Senate nomination to be head of the Small Business Administration in 2006, will face a tougher go of it this time as he seeks to take the helm of the beleaguered department, which is still reeling from the resignation of Secretary Alphonso Jackson "following allegations of favoritism in his dealings with a Philadelphia developer and criticism of his failure to implement an adequate response to the housing industry crisis." Before joining the government, Preston was executive vice president of ServiceMaster Co., which provides commercial and residential lawn care, pest control, and cleaning services.

21.From a crisis in housing to one in oil and gas: On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee explores "the Skyrocketing Price of Oil" in advance of the summer driving season. The price of crude oil has doubled over the past year, and the hearing promises top oil and gas industry executives -- from BP America, Shell Oil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil -- being called upon to explain themselves and their industry as Congress considers measures to prevent price-gouging and provide relief to consumers.

By Garance Franke-Ruta

© 2008 The Washington Post Company