From Greg Kaufmann:
Now that Obama has announced his Af/Pak strategy there will be a whole host of hearings about it this week.
One that was already in the works was the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ second forum in a six-part series. (You can read about the first forum here.) Wednesday the CPC will explore the question “Will the policies and goals of the Obama Administration serve our strategic interests?” Speakers include Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell; Joanne Trotter, Director of Programs with the Aga Khan Foundation, USA; and Abdulkader Sinno, professor of political science and middle eastern studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.
General Petraeus and Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of Defense for policy, will testify before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will also hold a hearing Thursday morning entitled “…Achieving Peace and Stability in the Graveyard of Empires“. Senate Foreign Relations holds a full committee hearing on “Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan”. House Oversight meets about “…Engaging Regional Stakeholders”; and the House (Select) Intelligence Committee has a closed door briefing on Afghanistan.
Both the House and Senate will take up their FY10 budget resolutions which they need to complete before the two-week recess scheduled to begin at the end of this week. In the Senate, that means an unlimited number of amendments are allowed, with each one given two minutes for debate. Should be plenty of opportunities to see just how whacked-out the GOP is, and watch Sen. Judd Gregg fulminate as — according to CongressDaily — he offers amendments already defeated in committee. (A big issue in the Senate is whether it will use the “reconciliation” rule which would allow the budget to pass with a simple majority rather than 60 votes.) Look for the Progressive Caucus Budget Alternative to be offered and debated on the House floor on Thursday — I’d imagine there will be some smart cuts to obsolete Cold War weapons systems and the disastrous $13 billion per year Missile Defense program, among other things.