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This Week in Washington – June 14, 2010

BP CEO Tony Hayward and other leaders of top oil companies will testify this week before members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  President Obama has stated that he would have fired Hayward if he were in charge of BP and Members of Congress are expected to treat Heyward as the whipping boy for the Gulf crisis.  Hayward will face some tough questioning this week.  Committee members will want specific explanations on why the spill has yet to be capped, why it has taken so long to slow the leaking of oil,  why the cleanup effort has been so poorly implemented and whether this CEO is prepared to pay the full cost of cleanup.  The Gulf of Mexico oil spill hearings will be the big ticket item this week in Washington.

The left is using the oil spill in the Gulf to argue for ending offshore drilling and imposing Cap and Trade on the American people.  From National Journal:

Reid has asked committee chairmen to give him recommendations for addressing the spill by the Independence Day recess, along with a broader blueprint of ideas that could be incorporated in energy legislation.  At the same time, he is considering the extent of the scope of that legislation, including whether it should include a climate change proposal by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. The Senate Democratic caucus is meeting Thursday to talk strategy for moving a bill this summer.

The Senate will continue work on the so called “Tax Extenders” bill this week which includes an extension of unemployment benefits.  The House will work on a government efficiency bill and TARP Jr. for small business.  CQ reports that the DISCLOSE Act, a bill setting new disclosure requirements for campaign ads may come up this week.  Both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committees will have hearings on the START Treaty.

The issues for Conservatives to watch are the following this week:

  • START Treaty – As hearing on the START Treaty are conducted in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, it is important to understand the reasons why this treaty is flawed.  The New START Working Group has issued a paper that explains, in part, “the United States and Russia recently signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). An independent assessment by the New START Working Group raises questions about the treaty that should be considered important by all interested in national security and the integrity of the arms control process and its outcomes. Hopefully, a broad and bipartisan set of U.S. Senators will take up these questions as they pursue their solemn responsibility of providing advice and consent on New START.”  Treaty ratification is one of the Constitutional duties of the United States Senate and require a two thirds vote to pass.  Conservatives argue that the Adminstration is wrong in claiming that “START includes no limits whatsoever on ballistic missile defenses.”  As the Working Group argues, “the preamble to the New START Treaty adopts the position publicly expressed by Russian officials on missile defense and implicitly adopts the deterrence theory known as Mutual Assured Destruction” and “this language appears to commit the United States to a logic that would dictate reductions in U.S. strategic defensive capabilities corresponding to the reduction in Russian strategic offensive capabilities.”  The Working Group has many reasons why this Treaty is bad for national defense, yet the diminution of missile defense as a deterrent to nuclear attack should be the one issue that conservatives watch closely.   
  • DISCLOSE Act – The House may take up this week a bill to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v FEC.  In that case the Supreme Court held that “corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment.”  In response to that ruling, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) have drafted up legislation likely for another trip to the Supreme Court if passed called the DISCLOSE Act.  Hans Von Spakovsky writes for National Review Online that this legislation is a “morass of confusing, duplicative, unnecessary, and onerous provisions that are clearly designed to deter political speech and political advocacy, particularly criticism of incumbents like Schumer and Van Hollen.  Despite claims to the contrary, it also abandons the longstanding policy of treating unions and businesses equally, which highlights the partisan motives underlying the bill.”  Conservatives should keep an eye on this legislation to see if it is railroaded through Congress before the fall elections.
  • Bailout of States - President Obama requested $50 billion over the weekend in your tax dollars to bailout fiscally irresponsible states.  The Washington Post reported on Sunday that “President Obama urged reluctant lawmakers Saturday to quickly approve nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments, saying the money is needed to avoid ‘massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters’ and to support the still-fragile economic recovery.”  Conservatives should watch this request closely to see if Congress will offset any new $50 billion in funding with cuts to other programs. 

The schedule for the Senate this week according to the Senate Majority Leader’s web site:

Convenes: Monday at 2pm

Following any Leader remarks, there will be a period of morning business until 3:00pm with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees.Following morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of the House Message to accompany H.R.4213, Tax Extenders. There will be no roll call votes during Monday’s session of the Senate. However, the bill Manager will be here to continue working through amendments on the Extenders bill.

On Tuesday, June 15, at 11:30am, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and debate concurrently the nominations listed below for a total of 20 minutes, equally divided and controlled between Senators Leahy and Sessions or their designees.

- Cal.#732- Tanya Pratt, of Indiana, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana;
- Cal.#775- Brian Jackson, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Louisiana; and
- Cal.#776- Elizabeth Foote, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.

Upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate will proceed to vote on confirmation of the nominations. After the first vote, the succeeding votes will be 10 minute votes. Therefore, senators should expect a series of up to 3 roll call votes to begin at approximately 11:50am on Tuesday, June 14.

The schedule for the House this week according to the House Majority Leader’s web site:

MONDAY, JUNE 14, 2010

On Monday, the House will meet at 12:30 p.m. for Morning Hour debate and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.

Suspensions (4 Bills)

  1. H.R. 5502 - To amend the effective date of the gift card provisions of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (Rep. Maffei – Financial Services)
  2. .Res. 1409 – Expressing support for designation of June 20, 2010, as “American Eagle Day”, and celebrating the recovery and restoration of the bald eagle, the national symbol of the United States (Rep. Roe – Financial Services)
  3. H.Res. 1368 – Supporting the goals of National Dairy Month (Rep. Courtney – Agriculture)
  4. H.Res. 1383- Honoring Dr. Larry Case on his retirement as National FFA Advisor (Rep. Luetkemeyer – Agriculture)

TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2010 AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. Shortly after 10:00 a.m., the House will recess for the Former Member’s Association annual meeting. The House will reconvene at approximately 11:30 a.m. On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business.

Suspensions (10 Bills)

  1. H.R. 4451 - Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act (Rep. Murphy (CT) – Energy and Commerce)
  2. H.R. 4855- Work-Life Balance Award Act (Rep. Woolsey – Education and Labor)
  3. H.Res. 1389 – Recognizing the immeasurable contributions of fathers in the healthy development of children, supporting responsible fatherhood, and encouraging greater involvement of fathers in the lives of their children, especially on Father’s Day (Rep. McIntyre – Education and Labor)
  4. H.Res. 1414- Congratulating Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men-Englewood Campus for achieving a 100 percent college acceptance rate for all 107 members of its first graduating class of 2010 (Rep. Rush – Education and Labor)
  5. H.Res. 1322- Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program and recognizing the significant contributions of Albert Einstein Fellows (Rep. Michaud – Education and Labor)
  6. H.Con.Res. 242 – Honoring and praising the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on the occasion of its 101st anniversary (Rep. Al Green – Judiciary)
  7. H.Res. 1422- Honoring the Department of Justice on the occasion of its 140th anniversary (Rep. Sensenbrenner – Judiciary)
  8. H.R. 2142- Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act (Rep. Cuellar – Oversight and Government Reform)
  9. H.Res. 879- Supporting the goals and ideals of American Education Week (Rep. Minnick – Oversight and Government Reform)
  10. H.Res. 1357 – Commending and congratulating the Hollywood Walk of Fame on the occasion of its 50th anniversary (Rep. Watson – Oversight and Government Reform)

H.R. 5297 – Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010 (Rep. Frank – Financial Services) (Subject to a Rule)

Possible Consideration of H.R. 5175- DISCLOSE Act (Rep. Van Hollen – House Administration) (Subject to a Rule)

Possible Further Action on H.R. 4899 - Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 (Rep. Obey – Appropriations) (Subject to a Rule)

* Conference Reports may be brought up at any time.

* Motions to go to Conference should they become available.

* Possible Motions to Instruct Conferees.

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