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This Week in Congress: June 15 – 19, 2009

This week Congress debates the war supplemental as well as health and energy legislation.

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)

Appropriations

Debate on supplemental war appropriations heats up as both chambers will consider the conference report to the fiscal year 2009 supplemental this week. The most contentious elements of the $106-billion legislation include $5 billion in funding for the International Monetary Fund and the omission of the Lieberman-Graham Amendment that would prohibit the release of detainee photos. The supplemental also provides $1 billion for a Cash for Clunkers program that would incentivize car owners to trade in an old vehicle for one with higher fuel efficiency. The House begins consideration of the war supplemental on Tuesday, and Senate action on the conference report will follow.

Later this week, the House will also consider the FY2010 Homeland Security and Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bills.

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Column: Five Reasons Congress Should Agree to Fund the IMF by Nina Hachigian

Column: Funding the War Through the Back Door by Sean Duggan and Laura Conley

Column: Retiring Old Cars, Creating New Jobs by Bracken Hendricks and Benjamin Goldstein

Column: A Long-Term Vision for Homeland Security by P.J. Crowley and Lindsey Ross

 

Commerce

On Tuesday, Sen. Byron Dorgan’s (D-ND) Travel Promotion Act of 2009 gets a cloture vote on the Senate floor. The bill would create a nonprofit organization that would exist for the sole purpose of facilitating and promoting international travel to the United States. It is believed that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act will be brought to the floor as an amendment to Dorgan’s bill, which would insert a highly partisan issue into the debate.

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Column: Standing Together Against Hate by Mark Shields and Winnie Stachelberg
 

Health care

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will begin to mark up the Affordable Health Choices Act on Wednesday. The proposed “public option” is the focal point of the partisan dialogue, with Democrats maintaining that this option is necessary to increase competition with private insurers and ensure choice and lower costs. The GOP, meanwhile, warns of “rationing healthcare,” socialized medicine, and higher taxes. The Senate Finance Committee, under the chairmanship of Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), will release draft health care reform language on Wednesday.

More from CAP:

Public Opinion: Move on Health Care Reform Now (and Don’t Forget the Public Plan!) by Ruy Teixeira

Animation: Why Americans Need Health Reform

Video: Ask the Expert: Fixing Our Broken Health Care System by Judy Feder

 

Energy and environment

Energy legislation continues to move in the Senate this week. On Tuesday, the Committee on Energy and Commerce will resume its mark up of the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009 (introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)). Controversy is brewing over offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a renewable energy standard that many Democrats feel is “watered down,” and revenue sharing among Gulf Coast states.

More from CAP:

Video: Ask the Expert: Action on Clean Energy by Daniel J. Weiss

Column: A Renewable Energy Standard: The Proof is in the States by Tom Kenworthy

Interactive Map: A Clean Energy Standard Would Lower Household Utility Bills by Ben Furnas

Column: Ten Reasons Not to Expand Offshore Drilling

 

Finance

The Senate Committee on Banking will hear testimony on Thursday from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the administration’s proposed financial regulatory overhauls. Also on Thursday, Geithner appears before the House Financial Services Committee to testify on the same issue.

More from CAP:

Column: After the Stress Tests by David Min

Report: Recommendations for a Public-Private Investment Program by Michael Ettlinger, Andrew Jakabovics, and David Min

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