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This evening, House Republicans have scheduled a vote on a “clean” extension of the country’s $14.3 trillion debt limit, meaning a vote with no additional spending reductions attached. The measure is not expected to pass, as House Republican leaders have projected that that their entire conference will oppose the bill, and some senior Democrats have indicated they’ll vote against it as well; on top of that, House Republican leaders have set a two-thirds threshold for passage. Thus, the vote, like many others held by both chambers since the start of the 112th Congress, will serve mainly as a messaging vote to demonstrate that there is minimal support for extending the country’s borrowing limit without cutting spending.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who has spearheaded the effort among House Democrats for a clean debt-limit vote, said in a brief interview last week that he plans to vote in favor of today’s measure. He criticized the Republican-led move against the bill as a political stunt that has been set up to fail. Worth watching will be which – and how many – Democrats back a clean debt-limit extension, a potentially risky move at a time when voters are expressing deep concerns about spending.

Later this week, President Obama will hold separate huddles at the White House with House Republicans and Democrats, during which the negotiations on a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan are likely to come up. Senate Democrats last week timed their vote on the House Republican budget to come one day after Democrats’ victory in the New York 26 special election, and this week House Republicans are being equally savvy schedulers by holding the debt-limit vote one day before their Wednesday meeting with Obama, a move that they will likely use in an effort to build momentum for deeper spending cuts. House Democrats will meet with Obama on Thursday.

The House will also vote later this week on a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) that would call on Obama to end the U.S. involvement in the conflict in Libya. The vote, which comes on the heels of other Libya-related measures last week, will be a closely watched one that’s likely to become the latest sign of congressional dissatisfaction with U.S. military involvement abroad.

A closer look at the week ahead:


The House is in at noon, with suspension votes on six bills expected at 6:30 p.m. The main event is the vote to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling without any additional spending reductions. The other five votes are on measures related to veterans’ affairs, state child welfare programs, a small business bill and the use of the Capitol Visitor Center for an event celebrating the birthday of Hawaii’s King Kamehameha. The Senate meets in a pro-forma session, meaning no legislative business is conducted.

Committee hearings/other events:

10 a.m.: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) holds a conference call to discuss his letter to Vice President Biden urging that any deficit-reduction deal include the elimination of subsidies for big oil companies.

10:30 a.m.: Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) address a Heritage Foundation forum on military spending.

11 a.m.: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and others speak at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event on manufacturing jobs.

1 p.m.: Hoyer holds his weekly pen-and-pad briefing with reporters.

2 p.m.: A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee holds a hearing on “Global Perspectives on Autism -- A Growing Public Health Crisis.”

4 p.m.: A House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on “Formal Rulemaking and Judicial Review: Protecting Jobs and the Economy with Greater Regulatory Transparency and Accountability.”

5:15 p.m.: House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) and Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) hold a media availability in the HVC-210 alcove to discuss the House Republican budget and debt limit vote.

5:30 p.m.: The House Rules Committee meets to formulate a rule on the 2012 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.


The House is in at 10 a.m. No time has been set for votes yet, but the lower chamber is expected to begin consideration of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-Ohio) resolution calling for an end to the U.S. involvement in Libya; the 2012 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act; and the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Also on Wednesday, all 241 members of the House Republican conference are expected to meet with President Obama at the White House.

Committee hearings/other events:

8 a.m.: The National Defense University Foundation holds a discussion on “Nukes, Missile Defense and U.S. Security” at the Capitol Hill Club.

9:30 a.m.: The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on “Cybersecurity: Assessing the Nation’s Ability to Address the Growing Cyber Threat.”

10 a.m.: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on “The State of the International Financial System.”

10 a.m.: A House Education subcommittee holds a hearing on “Education Reforms: Exploring the Vital Role of Charter Schools.”

10 a.m.: Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez testifies at a House Judiciary subcommittee oversight hearing on the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

10 a.m.: The House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on “American Energy Initiative: Identifying Roadblocks to Wind and Solar Energy on Public Lands and Waters.”

10:30 a.m.: A House Administration subcommittee holds a hearing on “Destructive Disclosure: Examining the Pay to Play Executive Order.”

2 p.m. A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee holds a hearing on “Preserving Progress: Transitioning Authority and Implementing the Strategic Framework in Iraq, Part 1.”

2 p.m.: A House Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing on “The DHS Intelligence Enterprise -- Past, Present, and Future.”


The House is in at 10 a.m. and is expected to continue work on the appropriations bills and the Kucinich measure. Members of the House Democratic Caucus are expected to meet with Obama at the White House.

Committee hearings/other events:

9 a.m.: Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) speak at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on U.S.-China relations.

9 a.m.: A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on the fiscal year 2012 budget of the U.S. Capitol Police.

9:30 a.m.: The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on “Making the Gulf Coast Whole Again: Assessing the Recovery Efforts of BP and the Obama Administration After the Oil Spill.”

9:30 a.m.: The Center for a New American Security holds a conference on “Risk and Reward: American Security in an Age of Uncertainty,” featuring The Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Ellen Nakashima on panels at 11:50 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., respectively.

10 a.m.: Actor Richard Gere and others testify at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on religious freedom, democracy and human rights in Asia.

10 a.m.: The House Judiciary Committee meets to markup several measures including H.J.Res.1, “Proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

11 a.m.: The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on “How Business Tax Reform Can Encourage Job Creation.”

Noon: The Woodrow Wilson Center holds a discussion on “The Future of Women in the Middle East and North Africa Region: A Tunisian and Egyptian Perspective.”

6:30 p.m. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence holds a gala at the Ronald Reagan Building honoring Jim Brady and Sarah Brady. Bill Clinton addresses the gala via a taped video message.

8:30 p.m.: Championship finals of the National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.


The House is in at 9 a.m.; last votes are expected no later than 3 p.m. The Senate meets at 10:30 a.m. for a pro-forma session, with no business conducted.

Committee hearings/other events:

9 a.m.: A House Ways and Means subcommittee holds a hearing on the 2011 Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees.

9 a.m.: A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on “The American Energy Initiative: H.R.909, A Roadmap for America’s Energy Future.”

9:30 a.m.: A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on “The Views of the Administration on Regulatory Reform.”

10 a.m.: A House Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing on “Denying Safe Havens: Homeland Security’s Efforts to Counter Threats from Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”