Lots, lots lots going on, as the budget begins to wend its way through both houses. Greg Kaufmann has the goods:
This Week on the Hill
The Senate will take yet another shot at a federal lands package leftover from 2008, which has thus far been tied in procedural knots thanks to senator Tom Coburn.
The House will take up the GIVE Act this week. The bill would more than triple the number of AmeriCorps volunteers from 75,000 to 250,000 and increase the education reward to $5,350 for next year. It also would create a summer service program for high school and middle school students with a $500 stipend to go towards college costs.
There are about a gazillion hearings on the Hill this week. According to CongressDaily,House Appropriations subcommittees alone will hold 20 as they work towards a goal of passing the House budget resolution for FY10 the week of March 30.
If you want to see testimony against big defense cuts, a whole bunch of Generals will be appearing before both the House and the Senate -- we're talking the Commands for the following: Southern, Northern, Pacific, Africa, Transportation, Strategic, Republic of Korea/United States Combined Forces, Army Medical, and Joint Forces.
Here are some defense hearings that might get into some arguments for significant defense cuts: the House Budget Committee on Defense Dept.'s FY10 Budget includes the GAO which found cost overruns of at least $300 billion for the top 75 weapons systems in 2008; an Appropriations subcommittee looks at the Nuclear Weapons Complex with progressive Philip Coyle offering counter-arguments to the National Nuclear Safety Administration; advocates for the Future Combat Systems Programs will appear before a House Armed Services Subcommittee which CongressDaily says "has tried every year to trim money from the program's budget"; look for Michael Krepon of the Henry Stimson Center to provide a voice of reason at a hearing on Space and US Security; finally, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs examines the DoD's Expanding Role in Foreign Assistance and one senior committee staffer says it will be "lively."
House and Senate Committees continue to work at health care legislation. The Committee on Energy and Commerce looks tomorrow at "Ensuring Affordable Coverage". Other health care hearings include Military Suicide Prevention and "Closing the Health Gap of Veterans in Rural Areas".
In finance, the hearings that will get a lot of press are on Ponzi Schemes and Offshore Tax Evasion and on AIG's Bailout and Impact on Global Economy. Both the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee will look at how to revamp Oversight of Systemic Risk in financial firms. Senate Banking will also look at Current Issues in Deposit Insurance. The House Judiciary will examine the notion of "Too Big to Fail" and the role of antitrust law in government-funded bank consolidation. The House will also look at oversight of both the Stimulus and TARP.
Other notable hearings include House Appropriations on Livable Communities, Transit, and Green Practices; House Education and Labor on Early Childhood Development policy; and House Homeland Security on Human Trafficking Recent Trends.