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This Week in Congress 3.10.08 – 3.14.08

CAP has the resources you need to stay on top of this week's big issues on the hill, from the budget to FISA and Iraq.

Budget

The Senate and the House will debate fiscal year 2009 budget resolutions this week.

The House takes up its resolution on Wednesday. House conservatives oppose the resolution because it provides $22 billion, or 1 percent, more domestic discretionary spending than President Bush’s budget. Conservatives are therefore expected to offer a substitute amendment highlighting their priorities, including extending President Bush’s tax cuts and a provision to restrict earmarks. The Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus will both offer substitute amendments as well. None of the substitute amendments are expected to pass.

The Senate will begin debate on its budget resolution Monday afternoon. Special Senate rules make the budget resolution immune from a filibuster and require 50 hours of debate. Conservatives are expected to use amendments to highlight opposition to earmarks and their support for extending President Bush’s tax cuts and increasing war funding. All votes will be postponed until Thursday, creating a marathon voting session ending in a vote on final passage of the budget resolution Thursday evening.

For more information on the Center’s policy solutions for the budget, see:

FISA & Intelligence Authorization 

President Bush vetoed the Intelligence Authorization bill Saturday because of language that would require intelligence agencies to follow the Army Field Manuel when conducting interrogations. The House is expected to hold a veto override vote sometime this week.

The House will also be pressured to bring the Senate-passed FISA bill to the floor for a vote this week with its two-week recess looming ahead. The House is still unable to reach a compromise on how to deal with retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies; if a compromise is made, there could be a vote to authorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act this week.

For more information on the Center’s policy solutions for FISA, see:

Iraq

Funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will take a role in both the House and Senate’s budget fights this week. Conservatives want to increase funding to $170 billion for FY 2009 from the $70 billion in the president’s budget. Congressional leadership says that the $70 billion in funding reflects their priority of redeploying troops out of Iraq.

For more information on the Center’s policy solutions for Iraq, see:

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