After negotiators reached a deal late last Friday to increase fuel economy standards from an average of 25 miles per gallon to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, the House will consider its version of the energy bill (HR. 6) and its accompanying tax package (HR. 3221) this week. The bill also includes mandates for production of alternative fuels and for increased use of renewable energy sources. The Rules Committee is expected to meet on the bill Tuesday, leading to floor consideration on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to mark up S. 2191, America‘s Climate Security Act. The bill, sponsored by Senators Lieberman and Warner, is designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program.
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The Senate is scheduled to debate revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act program. Two separate proposals will be considered, one originating from the intelligence committee, and a substitute proposal from the judiciary committee. Debate is expected to revolve around the intelligence committee’s version, which includes a controversial provision granting retroactive legal immunity for telecom companies who were involved in warrantless wiretapping.
Conferees will also be named this week to begin official negotiations on the 2008 intelligence authorization bill. Passed by the House in May, the annual authorization bill outlines policies for the intelligence community. Conference negotiations are expected to be brief, and the House is scheduled to consider it on the floor later this week.
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Although Congress has passed the FY08 defense appropriations measure into law, negotiations are still ongoing on the defense authorization bill for the year. The bill does not include any war-related policy changes. Conferees hope to reach an agreement this week, but the main obstacle to passage is a Senate-passed provision expanding hate crimes laws to include crimes based on sexual orientation. If an agreement is reached this week, the conference report will be voted on in the House.
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The Senate will again try to pass the farm bill this week, as final passage has been postponed repeatedly due to disagreements over amendments. Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell have so far failed to reach a compromise to limit the number of relevant amendments. If cloture is invoked through the support of 60 Senators, final passage of the farm bill could happen this week.
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Following up on last week’s Annapolis summit, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday focusing on the Middle East peace process. See Middle East Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress, for more information.
The Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance will also hold a Thursday hearing on foreign aid to Pakistan. CAP’s Larry Korb, co-author of “The Forgotten Front,” will testify.
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