A preview from Greg Kaufmann:
This week, the Obama Administration will try once again to push through the $106 billion war supplemental. Opposition is much stronger than anyone anticipated, with most antiwar Democrats maintaining their stance, and House Republicans opposing $5 billion to boost IMF lending. In the Senate, Senators Lieberman, McCain and Graham have threatened to shut down business if there aren’t assurances that photos of detainee abuse won’t be released. Now is a good time for you to let your legislators know where you stand on this. The House is expected to vote on Tuesday.
We should see some more definition around healthcare legislation this week — specifically on the question of whether the Senate will offer a public plan option? The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will markup its version tomorrow, while the Senate Finance Committee releases a draft on Wednesday. Finance Chair Max Baucus continues to pledge that he will have a bipartisan bill — somewhat disturbing since Republican Committee members are united in their opposition to a public plan option to compete with private insurers. (Nothing like a little Senate chumminess and political cowardice to kill needed reform.) President Obama is in Chicago this afternoon speaking to the American Medical Association which also opposes the public plan option.
The administration will release its plan for reforming financial regulation this week. Smart money is on something rather underwhelming, brought to you courtesy of Geithner-Summers Inc. CongressDaily does report, however, that the Administration will support TARP Oversight Chair Elizabeth Warren’s plan for a Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate financial products — so that’s a piece of good news. Secretary Geithner will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday and House Financial Services on Thursday.
FY10 spending bills for Homeland Security ($42.6 billion) and Commerce-Justice-Science ($64.4 billion) are expected to reach the House floor at the end of the week. The Homeland Security bill restricts the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo, according to the New York Times.
House Armed Services will look at the FY10 defense budget tomorrow, while Senate Armed Services looks specifically at spending on missile defense programs.
Representative Rush Holt will reintroduce his Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act this week. The bill would end the hodgepodge of regulations that vary by district and establish a national standard for a voter-verifiable paper trail and access for people with disabilities, among other things. Holt has been a tireless advocate on these issues, and with 65 cosponsors and endorsements from a whole host of organizations — like Common Cause, the Brennan Center, True Majority and Voter Action– his bill enjoys broad support. Hopefully it will get a vote on the floor this time around.
Other happenings under the radar: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will get an update on New Orleans Hurricane Protection and Restoration tomorrow…. On Thursday, Progressive Caucus Member John Tierney chairs a hearing on "Afghanistan and Pakistan: Oversight of a New Interagency Strategy"…. Finally, House Veterans’ Affairs will examine legislation — "Caring for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2009" — this Thursday as well.