This week, the House is scheduled to take up HR 895, which would establish an independent Office of Congressional Ethics. (No guarantee, however, on whether it will actually go to a vote, as the same proposal has been pulled for the past two weeks running.) Also on the table are possible considerations of FISA and the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008, which would ban the CIA from waterboarding detainees. President Bush vetoed the latter measure this weekend, citing fear that it would prevent the White House from deterring terrorist attacks: “This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe,” he said. (For the current issue of the Washington Monthly, which interrogates the moral failings of torture, as well as its track record of producing false confessions, see here.)
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary will vote on nominations and mark up a bill to set new parameters around the state secrets privilege. Senate committees will mark up two mortgage bills, legislation on hurricanes Katrina and Rita recovery, and a bill reauthorizing Bush’s global AIDS plan. The Senate will host hearings on appropriations, waste and fraud in Iraq, armed forces readiness, national infrastructure improvement and voter disenfranchisement. The House hosts hearings on net neutrality, Bush’s signing statement on the 2008 Defense Authorization bill, the U.S. response to Iraqi refugees, homeland security and the Congressional perspective on war powers.
Both the House and Senate will also begin debating their respective budget resolutions this week. The debates will center largely on whether to let Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire–expect the proceedings, as well, to serve as a Republican platform for assault on issues like Sens. Obama and Clinton’s proposed healthcare spending.