Washington Watch, Week of April 6 – April 12

Washington reporter Ana Radelat

Washington reporter Ana Radelat

Washington — Congress will try to cram in as much work as possible this week before taking off for two weeks on an Easter/Passover/Spring break.

The workweek will begin with Monday’s Senate vote to extend unemployment benefits to the long-term jobless, a bill that would aid thousands in Connecticut, but faces an uncertain future in the House.

Before heading to Washington to vote for the unemployment bill, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., will join Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, in a press conference in Hartford on legislation aimed at curbing e-cigarette use by children and adolescents.

There will be more than a dozen hearings this week on President Obama’s budget request, including several on the Pentagon’s budget that will be closely watched by Connecticut’s defense industry.

Meanwhile, Obama will spend much of his time out of Washington on fundraisers and other business.

Monday: Senate expected to approve extension of jobless benefits.

Also Monday, former Connecticut environmental chief, now head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy will discuss the agency’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants at a workshop hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Tuesday: Continuing the Democrats’ battle for women, the Senate will hold a procedural vote on the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” which aims to strengthen federal laws that prohibit pay discrimination that has generally hurt women. Sixty votes are needed to move the legislation forward, and the bill’s supporters may be short of votes. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, is the bill’s sponsor in the House.

Also Tuesday, the House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Russian military. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, is a member of the panel.

And, just before the IRS filing deadline, the Senate Finance Committee will hear from Internal Revenue Service officials and representatives of tax-preparation companies on how taxpayers can be protected from “incompetent and unethical” operators who offer to file their returns.

Wednesday: The House Committee on Homeland Security is to hold a hearing on “The Boston Marathon Bombings, One Year On: A look Back to Look Forward.”

Thursday: President Obama will join former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in speaking at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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