Weekly Washington Outlook – January 13, 2014

STOCK PHOTO capitol building

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

On Monday and Tuesday, the House will consider several non-controversial bills under suspension of the rules.  Also on Tuesday, the House will take-up a three-day spending bill to fund the government while appropriators finalize their work on an omnibus appropriations bill.  The hope is that an omnibus will be ready for floor consideration on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.  The House in this period will also take-up the Exchange Information Disclosure Act (H.R. 3362), sponsored by Congressman Terry (R-Neb.).  This measure would require HHS to issue weekly reports on the healthcare website’s enrollment numbers, site visits, and errors.

The Senate:

On Monday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on an amendment to the unemployment insurance extension measure currently under consideration.  The amendment offered by Sen. Reed (D-R.I.), the base bill’s sponsor, would extend UI through mid-November and offers various means to offset the cost.  The Senate will also vote to confirm Judge Robert Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  The balance of the week is somewhat contingent on the progress made in negotiating a path forward for the UI extension.  It is likely, however, that Senators will vote on a three-day continuing resolution to continue to fund the government while appropriators complete work on a longer-term measure that will be voted on at the end of the week.

White House:

Today, the president will welcome the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain Mariano Rajoy Brey to the White House.  The president and President Rajoy will discuss promoting economic growth and new jobs, support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, cooperation within NATO, Latin America, shared challenges in North Africa and the Middle East, and other topics of mutual interest.  On Tuesday, Mr. Obama will hold a Cabinet Meeting. The Vice President will attend. In the afternoon, President Obama will welcome the 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat to the White House to honor the team on winning their second-straight Championship title.  On Wednesday, the president will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina for an event on the economy.  On Thursday, the president and First Lady will host an event at the White House with a number of university presidents on expanding college opportunity.  On Friday, the president will give a speech presenting the outcomes of the Administration’s review of our signals intelligence programs, and how, in light of new technologies, we can use them in a way that optimally protects our national security while supporting our foreign policy, respecting privacy and civil liberties, maintaining the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosures. Further details on the speech will be released as they become available.

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Weekly Washington Outlook – January 6, 2014

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House returns for the Second Session of the 113th Congress on Tuesday.  After considering three bills under suspension of the rules, the House will take up H.R. 2279, sponsored by Rep. Gardner (R-Colo.) which would eliminate an EPA requirement to review and revise financial responsibility rules for hazardous material storage and waste sites every three years.  On Friday, the House will consider two ACA-related provisions.  The Exchange Information Disclosure Act (H.R. 3362), sponsored by Rep. Terry (R-Neb.) would require HHS to issue weekly reports on the healthcare website’s enrollment numbers, site visits, and errors.  The Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act of 2014 (un-numbered), sponsored by Rep. Pitts (R-PA), would require HHS to notify individuals if their personal data has been compromised through the health exchanges.

The Senate:

The Senate returns for the Second Session of the 113th Congress on Monday to vote to confirm Janet Yellen to Chair the Federal Reserve.  Following her confirmation, the Senate will vote on a motion to proceed to the consideration of S. 1845, the Unemployment Extension Act; this bill would extend emergency unemployment compensation for three months.

Later in the week, the Senate may consider Judge Robert Wilkins for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Judge Wilkins’ nomination was blocked before the change in the Senate rules. It is also possible that they will take up S. 1864, a measure which would delay increases in flood insurance premiums for residents in flood zones based on revised maps.

White House:

The White House has not released a public schedule for the week.  On Tuesday, however, the President is expected to hold an event at the White House on unemployment insurance, featuring individuals from across the country who have lost benefits.     Continue reading