The Week in Congress: February 2 – 6, 2009

This week Congress takes up economic recovery and reinvestment, children's health insurance, appropriations, and housing.

Rush hour traffic on Independence Avenue makes its way past the U.S. Capitol Building. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Rush hour traffic on Independence Avenue makes its way past the U.S. Capitol Building. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Economic recovery

The Senate begins debate today on H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Senate version includes $522 billion in tax cuts, including a one-year patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax, and $365 billion in targeted spending.

Read more from CAP on recovery and reinvestment:

Background brief: Recovery and Reinvestment 101

Interactive Maps: Recovery Beyond the Beltway

Infographic: The Stimulus: Four Reasons We Can’t Afford Not to Have One

Interactive: Design Your Own Stimulus Package

Health care

The House will take up the Senate-amended version of H.R. 2, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. The measure will reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, for four and a half years at a cost of $32.8 billion, expanding the number of children covered by the program by 4 million. The House is expected to clear H.R.2 without amendments, sending the measure to President Obama.

Read more about SCHIP from CAP:

Column: Putting Children’s Health Before Ideology

By the Numbers: Long Overdue for Children’s Health Insurance

Book: The Health Care Delivery System: A Blueprint for Reform

Housing and finance

This week, Congress will hold several hearings concerning the financial markets and the housing crisis. On Tuesday, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Promoting Bank Liquidity and Lending Through Deposit Insurance, Hope for Homeowners, and other Enhancements.” A full committee markup of related legislation is expected on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing focusing on oversight of the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Learn more about housing from CAP:

Interactive Map: Helping States Deal with Foreclosures

Column: Time to Quarantine the Foreclosure Epidemic


The House is scheduled to consider a consolidated appropriations bill incorporating nine separate spending bills for fiscal year 2009. Last year, Congress passed three individual appropriations bills: Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, as well as a continuing resolution funding the remaining federal government programs until March 6. The consolidated bill completes the fiscal year 2009 funding for the remaining nine appropriations bills.

More on appropriations:

Column: Stimulative Action

Interactive: Design Your Own Defense Budget

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Interactive: Mapping access to abortion by congressional district

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