This week, the House will debate two housing bills: the FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act, which would allow the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee up to $300 billion in refinanced mortgages for troubled borrowers, and the Neighborhood Stabilization Act, which would provide $15 billion in loans and grants to local governments to buy foreclosed properties. An extension of the Higher Education Act (its current reauthorization is still being threshed out in conference) is also on the docket, as well as possible consideration of the farm bill. Negotiations on the war supplemental bill continue. While Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) insists the bill will pass before the May 23 recess, ongoing struggles over what domestic spending to include make its current outlook unclear.
The Senate resumes debate on the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which stalled last week over disputed pension language. Should members approve the bill, legislation on flood insurance is next on the agenda. A possible unveiling of a gas package–likely to mandate a pause in stocking the Strategic Petroleum Reserve–could also occur as early as midweek.
Meanwhile, Congress holds hearings on mortgage refinancing, healthcare reform, fuel subsidies, veterans’ benefits, and the Internet Freedom Preservation Act. John Ashcroft, John Yoo and David Addington (the vice president’s chief of staff) are scheduled witnesses for a Tuesday hearing on Guantanamo Bay and administration interrogation rules, but despite Rep. John Conyers’ subpoena threats, none have yet confirmed they’ll appear.