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This Week On The Hill | The Nation

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Christopher Hayes

Christopher Hayes

Nation editor-at-large and host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.

This Week On The Hill

A preview from Greg Kaufmann:

The Administration has had a far tougher time passing the $96 billion war supplemental than anyone anticipated. At play is opposition to escalation, a $108 billion line of credit for the IMF, and a Lieberman amendment that allows Defense Secretary Gates to withhold detainee photos as he sees fit. Great time to tell your reps how you want them to vote.

Healthcare talks continue in Senate Finance and also Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committees this week. Look for Democrats on both committees to release more details on the kind of legislation they want to introduce -- it remains to be seen if a public plan option will be included and, if so, how strong it will be. (Here's a disturbing quote from Robert Reich on that front.) CongressDaily reports that Ways and Means Chair Charlie Rangel will lay out his framework for healthcare on Tuesday to the Democratic Caucus. House Energy and Commerce and also Labor and Education committees will have a hand in the House legislation as well.

The 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus -- the largest Caucus in Congress -- isn't waiting around to see a final bill before speaking out. It released its "Principles for a Public Health Care Option", defining a truly robust public plan option that would need to be included in the final bill to gain the CPC's support.

As for climate change, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hopes to mark-up its energy bill this week. Should be interesting to see how much stock members put in the prospects of carbon capture. In the House, the Agriculture Committee will take a shot at reviewing the Energy and Commerce-approved energy bill on Thursday, and Energy and Commerce will hold another hearing on how emissions permits are allotted -- free versus auction.

The Senate will try to get 60 votes to wrap-up tobacco legislation. The bill would allow the FDA to regulate nicotine, advertising and marketing, and restrict the sale of flavored cigarettes to menthol only. The bill was held up last week because Senator McCain wanted a vote on an amendment to allow re-importation of prescription drugs. Majority Leader Reid wouldn't allow it because he said it wasn't germane. Strange on many fronts -- Reid has allowed pro-gun amendments by Republicans on a DC voting rights bill and the credit card reform bill. His spokesman said there was nothing he could do to stop them. But… he stopped McCain -- and this amendment was introduced by a Democrat, Senator Byron Dorgan. Not to mention that prescription drugs seems far more germane to the FDA than guns seem to credit cards and DC representation in Congress.

In the House, both the Foreign Relations Authorization Act and the Pakistan Assistance bill will probably be debated on the floor -- depending what happens with the supplemental. The former would allow an additional 1500 people to join the Foreign Service over the next two years and increase the budget for the Peace Corps.

Hearings…. If you want to check out the FY2010 budget there will be a host of appropriations hearings this week, including Secretary Geithner, and Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen, testifying on their departments' budget requests before Defense Appropriations subcommittees on Tuesday.

Other notable hearings: Senate Judiciary takes a look at "The Legal, Moral, and National Security Consequences of 'Prolonged Detention'"…. It also has a hearing on Senator Jim Webb's good bill to establish a commission that would examine issues like drug treatment, effective parole policy, racial injustice and sentencing, education for inmates, and reentry programs…. On Wednesday, the Commission on Wartime Contracting presents its interim report to the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, chaired by CPC member Rep. John Tierney…. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who helped establish the Wartime Contracting Commission, will chair a Senate Homeland subcommittee hearing on fraud allegations occurring at the US Embassy in Kabul…. House Financial Services will examine regulating the over-the-counter derivatives market tomorrow…. and on Thursday House Energy and Commerce looks into FDA approval of affordable generic biologic drugs.

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