Weekly Washington Outlook – June 9, 2014

U.S. CapitolWhat to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House returns from its recess Monday afternoon to consider a number of bills under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. 2072 – Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Benishek / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

2) H.Res. 600 – Urging the Government of Afghanistan, following a successful first round of the presidential election on April 5, 2014, to pursue a transparent, credible, and inclusive run-off presidential election on June 14, 2014, while ensuring the safety of voters, candidates, poll workers, and election observers, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Alan Grayson / Foreign Affairs Committee)

3) H.R. 4412 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2014, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Steven Palazzo / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

4) S. 1254 – Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013 (Sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

5) H.Con.Res. 100 – Authorizing the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act (Sponsored by Rep. Marcia Fudge / House Administration Committee)

6) S.Con.Res. 36 – A concurrent resolution permitting the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the next of kin or personal representative of Raoul Wallenberg (Sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand / House Administration Committee)

7) H.R. 3211 – Mortgage Choice Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga / Financial Services Committee)

8) H.R. 1679 – To amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to clarify the application of that Act to American Samoa, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Eni Faleomavaega / Financial Services Committee)

9) H.R. 4228 – DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan / Homeland Security Committee)

H.R. 4745 – Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (Open Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Latham / Appropriations Committee)

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. __– The Veterans Access to Care Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

2) H.Res. 608 – Condemning the senseless rampage and mass shooting that took place in Isla Vista, California, on Friday May 23, 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

The House will also vote on a number of tax and appropriations bills in the period including:

H.R. 4745 – Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (Open Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Latham / Appropriations Committee)

H.R. 4880 – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt / Appropriations Committee)

H.R. 4453 – Permanent S Corporation Built-in Gains Recognition Period Act of 2014, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. David Reichert / Ways and Means Committee)

H.R. 4457 – America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi / Ways and Means Committee)

The Senate:

The Senate on Monday evening will take procedural votes to confirm a number of judicial nominations.  Consideration and confirmation of these nominees, which also include Stanley Fisher to become Vice-Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, will continue into Tuesday.  Later in the week, the Senate will likely move to Senator Warren’s (D-Mass.) student loan refinancing bill (S. 2432).  It is also possible that a compromise veteran’s bill from Senator Sanders (I-VT) and Senator McCain (R-Ariz.) could be brought to the floor.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host an event on education at the White House. Later in the afternoon, he will welcome the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams to honor the teams and their 2014 NCAA Championships.  On Tuesday, President Obama will take to Tumblr in an event at the White House moderated by Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp. The President will deliver remarks and answer questions from folks across the country on the importance of education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt.  On Wednesday, Mr. Obama will travel to Worcester, Mass. to deliver the commencement address at the Worcester Technical High School graduation ceremony. The president will also attend a DSCC event in the Boston area. Following the event, the president will return to Washington.  On Thursday, he will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia at the White House; the vice president will also attend. The two leaders will discuss a range of issues of mutual interest, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Australia’s leadership of the G-20 this year, the future of Afghanistan, and the growing bilateral defense relationship, including the rotation of U.S. Marines through Darwin. They will also address some of the most serious security issues that confront both Australia and the United States, including Syria, Russia’s actions in Ukraine, North Korea, and the security and stability of the Asia Pacific region. In the afternoon, the president will welcome the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals. On Friday, the president and Mrs. Obama will travel to the Cannonball, North Dakota area to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Following their visit to Indian Country, President Obama and the first lady will travel to Palm Springs, Calif. On Saturday, the president will deliver the commencement address at University of California, Irvine on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the UC Irvine campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Also this week and beyond:

Immigration – Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is scheduled to testify on Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing; immigration reform could come up. Elsewhere, immigration reform was not included in Majority Leader Cantor’s memo to members on what to expect on the floor in the next three weeks.  It’s worth noting, however, that his primary is Tuesday.  While immigration reform will likely not be on the floor this month, the House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing on June 19 on the rise of unaccompanied minors, claiming this is a result of the president’s failure to enforce existing immigration laws.

Veterans – The House and Senate are both expected to consider legislation this week to address the scandal at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The Chairman of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) will have a bill on the floor later this week focusing on access to private care. Details of this are still being finalized. Similarly, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders announced an agreement in principle late last week on legislation that would make it easier to fire VA employees and allow veterans to access private care more easily. The agreement reached with Senator John McCain could be on the floor later this week. In addition to legislation, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Monday on data manipulation and access to Veterans’ Affairs Department healthcare facilities; the inspector general and GAO officials are expected to testify. The committee will also hold a hearing Thursday on barriers to veterans’ care.

Education – The White House and the Senate plan to focus this week on college affordability and student loan debt. The White House is expected to issue an executive order on Monday capping repayment of student loans at 10 percent of monthly income.  For its part, the Senate plans to proceed to a bill from Senator Warren that would allow students paying interest between 7-9 percent to refinance to current rates.

Appropriations – The House this week will vote on the Transportation – Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill for FY2015 as well as the Agriculture – FDA appropriations bill for FY2015. Both are open to amendments, and the Ag-FDA bill has come under particular scrutiny because of attempts to undermine school nutrition standards and define white potatoes as a vegetable under the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program. At the Committee level in the House, will mark-up its defense spending bill and the measure for the Department of Homeland Security. In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee will mark-up Labor-Education-Health and Human Services on Wednesday.

Juvenile Justice – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a field hearing on Monday, June 9 in Rhode Island on the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.  The hearing will focus on preserving youth potential and protecting communities.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will preside.

Campaign Finance – The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights Subcommittee will mark-up a proposed constitutional amendment on Wednesday that would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United Case.

Financial Services – Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is scheduled to give his semi-annual report to Congress tomorrow before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. In the House, the Financial Services Committee will mark-up a series of bills designed to add additional requirements to CFPB rulemakings.

WIA – A compromise reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act is scheduled for consideration in both the House and Senate during the June work period.

Health – The House Ways and Means Committee’s Health and Oversight Subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on Tuesday to examine fraud and data issues with the verification system for insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Tax Reform – The House will vote this week on two bills which make permanent two currently expired tax provisions. H.R. 4453 would extend the reduced recognition period for built-in gains of S corporations and also includes language on charitable contributions.  H.R. 4457 related to expensing limitations under section 179.  Neither measure is offset.  The House Ways and Means Committee plans to continue to look at extenders that should be made permanent, while a traditional extenders package has stalled on the Senate floor and is unlikely to be revived until after the mid-term elections.

Nominations – The Senate Budget Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have scheduled confirmation hearings on Wednesday for Shaun Donovan’s nomination to head the Office of Management and Budget.

Weekly Washington Outlook – June 2, 2014

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House is in recess this week, returning Monday, June 9.

The Senate:

The Senate returns from its recess Monday afternoon to consider a number of pending judicial and executive nominations, including Sylvia Matthews Burwell’s confirmation to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  While much of the week will be devoted to nominations, it is possible that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take-up a bill making it easier to dismiss Veterans Affairs officials for misconduct.  It is also possible later in the week Senate Leadership will bring to the floor legislation that would permit recreational hunting and fishing in federal wilderness areas (S. 2363).

White House:

On Monday, the president will speak on a conference call in the afternoon on the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemaking to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Later in the evening, he will depart for Warsaw, Poland. On Tuesday morning, President Obama will arrive in Warsaw, where he and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland will have an opportunity at the airport to meet with U.S. and Polish airmen who are supporting an aviation mission based at Lask Air Base. Following this event, the president will travel to Belweder Palace to take part in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with President Komorowski. In the afternoon, the president will travel to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister to participate in a bilateral meeting and deliver statements to the press with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Later, he will go to the Presidential Palace to co-host with President Komorowski a meeting with Central and Eastern European leaders. In the evening, the president will attend a Solidarity Dinner at the Royal Castle. On Wednesday, President Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and then travel to the Royal Castle to take an official family photo with leaders attending the Freedom Day event, marking the 25th anniversary of Poland’s first partially free election. At the Royal Castle, Mr. Obama will deliver remarks commemorating Freedom Day. In the afternoon, he will fly to Brussels, Belgium. In the evening, the president will travel to the Royal Palace of Brussels to meet with King Philippe of Belgium. Afterward, he will attend the 2014 G-7 Summit, which will begin with a leaders working dinner on foreign policy issues. On Thursday, the president will participate in G-7 meetings on the global economy and energy and climate issues and a G-7 working lunch on development. G-7 leaders will also take a traditional “family photo.”  In the afternoon, President Obama will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom. In the evening, the president will travel to Paris, where he will have dinner with President Hollande and remain overnight. On Friday, the president will travel to Normandy, France, to deliver remarks at Omaha Beach for the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. In the afternoon, he will travel to Sword Beach to attend a leaders lunch hosted by President Hollande and then attend the Ouistreham International Ceremony.  In the evening, President Obama will depart France en route to Washington. Continue reading

Weekly Washington Outlook – May 12, 2014

U.S. Capitol

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House is not in session this week.

The Senate:

On Monday, the Senate will vote to confirm two nominations and then proceed to a motion to end debate on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S. 2262). If cloture is invoked, the Senate will vote on passage early in the week and likely a stand-alone measure to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline by TransCanada Corp. Following disposition of S. 2262, the Senate will take a procedural vote to advance a Finance Committee-backed bill to extend retroactively over fifty expired tax credits.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host President Jose Mujica Cordano of Uruguay at the White House; the vice president will also attend. They will discuss strengthening bilateral economic ties and improving market access for each nation’s goods and services; expanding collaboration on science, technology, and health; increasing educational exchanges; and consulting on multilateral issues including peacekeeping. In the afternoon, the president and vice president will honor the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS award winners at the White House. On Tuesday, President Obama will award Kyle J. White, a former active duty Army Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Sergeant White will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007. Sergeant White will be the seventh living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. On Wednesday, the president and the first lady will travel to New York metropolitan area. While in New York, President Obama will host an event on the economy and attend DNC and DSCC events. On Thursday, the president and the first lady will tour the National September 11th Memorial and Museum; Mr. Obama will also deliver remarks at the dedication ceremony. Following his remarks, the president and the first lady will return to Washington for unspecified meetings in the White House on Friday.

Also this week and beyond:

Immigration Reform – Last week, Congressmen Cardenas (D-Calif.), Polis (D-Colo.), and Garcia (D-Fla.) used a series of parliamentary maneuvers to offer the budgetary savings from H.R. 15, the House companion to the Senate immigration bill, to offset an unpaid for permanent extension of the Research & Development tax credit. This effort provided an opportunity for these members to speak on the House floor about the economic benefits of immigration reform and ask House Republicans why they will not bring a bill for a vote on the floor. Elsewhere, Congressman Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) reminded his colleagues last week that the deadline for Congress to act is August.

Healthcare – The Senate Finance Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Wednesday on Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s nomination to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. While she will likely face difficult questions about the Affordable Care Act, she is widely expected to be confirmed.

Veterans’ Healthcare – Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is scheduled to appear before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday to address allegations of delays in service in VA hospitals. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, for its part, has subpoenaed documents from the agency relating to these claims and a number of members, including House Speaker John Boehner, have called for Secretary Shinseki’s resignation.

Housing Finance Reform – On Tuesday, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt will give a speech at the Brookings Institution outlining the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under conservatorship. The remarks come at a particularly sensitive time as draft legislation to unwind the GSEs appears stalled in the Senate.  After postponing a mark-up of Johnson-Crapo to attempt to get support from six Democrats on the Committee, the Senate Banking Committee will reconvene on Thursday to finish. The expectation is that the six Democrats will not endorse the measure after negotiations fell apart late last week.  Without their support, the bill’s chances on the Senate floor are meager.

Transportation – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will mark-up a six-year surface transportation reauthorization on Thursday. The mark-up will follow a call by the president on Wednesday at an event in New York to invest in infrastructure and quickly pass a so-called “highway bill” before the Highway Trust Fund runs dry. The last reauthorization expires at the end of September.

Education – The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will mark-up on Wednesday Chairman Harkin’s (D-Iowa) Strong Start for America’s Children Act.  The bill would expand early education programs for children under five.

Tax Reform – The Senate this week will consider “extender” legislation that would retroactively extend the majority of the fifty-five tax credits that expired at the end of 2013.  The extension currently has no off-set and attempts to use revenue from limiting Child Tax Credit eligibility for ITIN-filers are widely anticipated to be put forward. The Senate approach to extenders is in sharp contrast with the House; Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has indicated that he will renew each expired credit on an individual basis and plans to make several permanent as a means to change the baseline of his draft bill.

Weekly Washington Outlook – April 28, 2014

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House returns from a two-week recess on Monday afternoon to consider the following nine bills under suspension of the rules:

1) S. 994 – The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (Sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)/ Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

2) H.R. 4192 – To amend the Act entitled “An Act to regulate the height of buildings in the District of Columbia” to clarify the rules of the District of Columbia regarding human occupancy of penthouses above the top story of the building upon which the penthouse is placed, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

3) H.R. 4194 – The Government Reports Elimination Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)/ Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

4) H.R. 298 – To direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study to evaluate the significance of the Mill Springs Battlefield located in Pulaski and Wayne Counties, Kentucky, and the feasibility of its inclusion in the National Park System (Sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)/ Natural Resources Committee)

5) H.R. 4032 – North Texas Invasive Species Barrier Act of 201, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas)/ Natural Resources Committee)

6) H.R. 3110 – Huna Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use Act (Sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)/ Natural Resources Committee)

7) H.R. 930 – To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the archeological site and surrounding land of the New Philadelphia town site in the State of Illinois (Sponsored by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.)/ Natural Resources Committee)

8) H.R. 4120 – To amend the National Law Enforcement Museum Act to extend the termination date (Sponsored by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) / Natural Resources Committee)

9) H.R. 1501 – Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument Preservation Act (Sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)/ Natural Resources Committee)

On Tuesday, the House will consider H.R. 4414 – Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) / Ways & Means Committee) as well as three more bills under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. 627 – National Park Service 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act, as amended  (Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) / Financial Services Committee)

2) H.R. 4167 – Restoring Proven Financing for American Employers Act (Sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) / Financial Services Committee)

3) H.R. ___ – Gold Medal Technical Corrections Act of 2013 (Sponsored by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)/ Financial Services Committee)

On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will take up two appropriations bills, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and the Legislative Branch.  No votes are expected Friday.

The Senate:

The Senate also returns Monday afternoon from a two-week recess to confirm three nominations, including David Weil to be the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.  Later in the week, the Senate will take a procedural vote to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and will then proceed to legislation sponsored by Senator Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Senator Portman (R-Ohio) on energy efficiency.

White House:

On Monday, the President is in the Philippines as part of his Asian trip and will return to Washington tomorrow.  The White House has not yet released a schedule for the balance of the week.

Also this week and beyond:

Immigration Reform – Immigration reform was once again conspicuously absent from Majority Leader Cantor’s Friday memo to House members outlining the May legislative agenda.

Healthcare – The House this week will vote again on a modified version of the Expatriate Healthcare Coverage Clarification Act. The bill failed under suspension of the rules before the recess after labor and immigrant advocacy groups raised concerns that the definition of expatriate under the bill was unnecessarily broad and could erode coverage for legal permanent residents and certain visa-holders. Since its defeat on the floor, the definition of qualified foreign expatriate has subsequently been amended to include a condition that a person be either authorized to work in the US or lawfully admitted into the US for purposes of lawful permanent residence. This expansion raises additional concerns about immigrant healthcare access under the Affordable Care Act.

Housing Finance Reform – The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a mark-up of the Johnson-Crapo housing finance overhaul bill for April 29.

Minimum Wage – The Senate will finally take a procedural vote to raise the minimum wage on Wednesday of this week.  The vote is expected to fall short of the sixty required to advance the measure.

Education – Education Secretary Arne Duncan will testify on Tuesday before the House Education and Workforce Committee.  Later in the month, Majority Leader Cantor has indicated he plans to bring the Kline-Miller bill reauthorizing federal charter programs to the floor.

Poverty – The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on a report by the panel’s chairman Paul Ryan on President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.  The report concludes that federal anti-poverty programs are ineffective and inefficient.

Tax Reform – The House Ways and Means Committee will mark-up six bills this week to make certain business tax extenders permanent law.  In contrast the Senate is expected to vote in the coming weeks on a two-year extension of nearly all expired tax credits.

Weekly Washington Outlook – April 21, 2014

HouseImmigrationBill_pic_new

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House is in recess, returning Monday, April 28.

The Senate:

The Senate is in recess, returning Monday, April 28.

White House:

On Monday, the president and the First Family will participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll.  The event will feature live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling, and Easter egg rolling.  On Tuesday, President Obama will travel to Oso, Wash., to view the devastation from the recent mudslide and to meet with families affected by this disaster, as well as first responders and recovery workers.  Following his visit to Washington state, the president will travel to Tokyo.  On Wednesday night, the president will arrive in Tokyo and remain overnight.  On Thursday, President Obama will hold a state call with the Emperor and Empress of Japan at the Imperial Palace.  Later in the morning, the president will participate in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan at the Akasaka Palace.  In the afternoon, the president will visit the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation to tour and deliver remarks at a youth and science event with students.  Later in the afternoon, Mr. Obama will visit the Meiji Shrine and host a roundtable meeting with Select USA business leaders. In the evening the president will attend the Japanese State dinner at the Imperial Palace with the Imperial family. On Friday morning, President Obama will meet with employees and family members of the U.S. Embassy to Japan. He will then travel to the Republic of Korea. In the afternoon, the president will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the National War Memorial to honor fallen soldiers. Following the ceremony, he will tour the Gyeongbok Palace. Later in the afternoon, the president will visit the Blue House to participate in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with President Park of the Republic of Korea . In the evening President Obama will join President Park for a working dinner. On Saturday morning, the president will participate in a roundtable meeting with business leaders to discuss trade policy. Following the roundtable, President Obama will travel to Yongsan Garrison. Here, he will be briefed by U.S.-ROK Combined Forces Command officers and deliver remarks and visit with troops and their families to thank them for their extraordinary service to our nation. In the afternoon, Mr. Obama will travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the evening, he will join King Abdul Halim and Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia for the State dinner at the Istana Negara Palace. On Sunday, the president will visit the National Mosque of Malaysia. Following his visit, he will participate in a bilateral meeting and working lunch followed by a joint press conference with Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia at the Prime Minister’s Office. In the afternoon, the president and Prime Minister will take part in an event at the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center. In the evening, the president will travel to Malaya University to participate in a town hall with participants in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.

Also this week and beyond:

Immigration Reform – Last week, both Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor made statements about immigration reform as the President marked the anniversary of the introduction of the Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill. The Majority Leader’s came after the president called him to wish him a happy Passover and was widely considered an over-reaction to what was otherwise categorized as a “pleasant” conversation. Later in the week, after much speculation about the status of immigration reform in the House, Speaker Boehner’s press secretary emailed a number of reporters asking their editors to “chill” and emphasizing that the focus remained on job creation.  He provided the following quote:  “Nothing has changed.  As he’s said many times, the Speaker believes step-by-step reform is important, but it won’t happen until the president builds trust and demonstrates a commitment to the rule of law.”

Smarter Sentencing Act – While the Senate could begin consideration of Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senator Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) Smarter Sentencing Act as soon as the next work period, the Administration is planning to grant clemency to “hundreds, perhaps thousands” of imprisoned non-violent drug offenders.  It is possible that new procedures to handle the large number of applications could be announced as soon as this week.

Housing Finance Reform – The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a mark-up of the Johnson-Crapo housing finance overhaul bill for April 29.

Minimum Wage – A procedural vote to advance a minimum wage hike has been postponed again and is now expected in the Senate sometime in early May. However, the next work period in the Senate is now likely to be dominated by judicial nominations and several bipartisan measures, including the long-stalled Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill. As a result, it is possible that a vote on minimum wage could be put off once again.

Tax Reform – Following the recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he plans to bring to the floor the so-called “extenders package” approved by the Senate Finance Committee last week. The measure extends retroactively the majority of tax credits that expired at the end of the year. In the House, Ways and Means Chairman Dave exercise. Camp is instead examining making certain tax credits permanent rather than going through the annual extenders