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This Week in Congress: 1.14.07 – 1.18.07

From mine safety and the economy to Pakistan and the Defense Department budget, CAP provides you with resources to say on top of the week on the Hill.

The House will return after its winter recess on Tuesday, January 15. The Senate remains out of session this week.

Defense Authorization

The House will vote this week to override President Bush’s veto of HR 1585, the Defense Authorization Act. The bill passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming support last year, but the president vetoed it after the Iraqi government raised concerns about a provision that would make the current Iraqi government liable for acts committed under the Saddam regime and allow plaintiffs to seek redress in U.S. courts. The Iraqi government threatened to withdraw $25 billion dollars’ worth of assets from U.S. markets if the bill became law.

President Bush did not threaten to veto the bill until after Congress had adjourned for the year, insisting that he had the right to pocket veto the bill, which is not subject to an override vote. In attempting to override the veto, Congress is rejecting the president’s claim that he has the power to use the pocket veto in between sessions of Congress. There is a longstanding debate about the use of a pocket veto with Congress and the president each holding firmly to their opinions.

Read more on issues in the Defense Authorization Act:

Foreign Affairs

The House Foreign Affairs committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on “U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Assassination, Instability, and the Future of U.S. Policy” with Christine Fair, senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation; Ashley Tellis, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center testifying.

On Wednesday the House is also expected to consider a suspension bill condemning the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and the House Armed Services Committee will holding a hearing on “Post-Surge Alternatives for Iraq.” The House Armed Forces Committee will then turn its attention to assessing U.S. strategy and operations in Afghanistan on Thursday.

Read more on Pakistan:

Economy

The Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing Thursday with former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers on how the federal government should respond to a possible recession. The same day Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before the House Budget Committee on the “Near-Term Economic Outlook for the U.S. Economy.”

Both Congressional Democrats and Republicans are looking this week at the possibility of passing an economic stimulus package to spur the economy out of a possible recession. Democrats seem to be split on the idea of tax breaks versus increased spending, and Republicans are opposed to increased spending in favor of extending tax breaks.

Read more on the economy:

Mine Safety

The House will consider the Supplemental Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act this week, which would establish improved mandatory standards to protect miners during crises.

Read more on mine safety:

CIA Interrogation

The House Select Intelligence Committee will hold a full committee hearing on destruction of the CIA interrogation videotapes on Wednesday.

Read more on the CIA tapes, see:

To speak with our experts on these topics, please contact:

For TV, Sean Gibbons, Director of Media Strategy
202.682.1611 or sgibbons@americanprogress.org
For print or radio, John Neurohr, Press Assistant
202.481.8182 or jneurohr@americanprogress.org
For web, Erin Lindsay, Online Marketing Manager
202.741.6397 or elindsay@americanprogress.org