Congress begins a short week today. They were not in session yesterday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will be in recess on Thursday and Friday to accommodate the Republican retreat.
House and Senate leaders are working out the details of an economic stimulus package they hope will jump start the economy and help avoid a possible recession. Today lawmakers are meeting with President Bush about the direction that stimulus package might take. Lawmakers have stated they hope to have a plan in place and passed within a month in order to have the greatest impact on the slowing economy.
The Senate Finance Committee is holding two hearings on an economic stimulus Tuesday and Thursday, and the Senate and House Budget Committees are holding hearings on the “CBO Budget and Economic Outlook” later this week.
John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, is testifying before the House Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee’s hearing on a possible cap-and-trade system to reduce global warming pollution.
On Thursday, The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the EPA’s decision to deny California’s waiver to regulate greenhouse gas pollution from motor vehicles. The Senate Foreign Relation Committee is also holding a hearing on “International Climate Change Negotiation: Bali and the Path Toward a Post-2012 Climate Treaty."
The Senate will begin its second session by considering S 1200, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments. This will be the first reauthorization of the American Indian Health program since 1992.
The House is scheduled to vote to override the president’s veto of a Children’s Health Insurance bill. This is the chamber’s second attempt to override last fall’s veto. The first time, they fell about a dozen votes short of the two-thirds needed to override a veto.
On Thursday the House Small Business Committee is holding a hearing on Small Business Health Care Options.
The Senate is expected to pass the Defense Authorization bill this week as amended by the House.
The Senate will begin debate on revising the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, this week. Democrats and Republicans are still at odds over whether telecommunications companies that complied with the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program should be granted retroactive immunity.
There are currently two bills in the Senate. The Intelligence Committee bill, which includes retroactive immunity, will likely be the bill brought up for consideration. The Judiciary Committee bill, which does not grant retroactive immunity, will likely be brought up as a substitute amendment.
The Senate may consider a short-term, one-month extension of the bill passed last summer that is set to expire on February 1st in order to gain more time to consider the intelligence overhaul.
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