Washington Watch, Week of April 27

Congress returns from a two-week break to a busy calendar.

Washington Watch bugThe Senate will take up a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage, and it will hold hearings on the Boston Marathon. A Senate committee will consider the issue of a “post-McCutcheon world,” or how the money wars will be waged this year in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that said aggregate limits on campaign donations are unconstitutional. And, President Obama will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Let’s hope, for the president’s sake, the conversation doesn’t stray to the NSA’s tapping of Merkel’s cellphone.)

Tuesday:  The House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “Examining the Growing Problems of Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the structure and budget of the Air Force. A discussion of the F-35, whose engine is produced by Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut, is expected. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is a panel member.

The Supreme Court is slated to hear two cases on whether police have the authority to search the contents of cellphones they take from people they’ve arrested.

Wednesday: The Senate Homeland Security Committee will review the Boston Marathon bombing case, more than a year after the attack. Also, the House may vote on the military construction appropriations bill. The budget for construction at the nation’s military bases has been slashed, and President Obama requested no funding to modernize Naval Submarine Base New London – even as the base has a long wish list of construction projects.

The Senate plans to take a procedural vote on a bill that would raise the minimum wage, and in a move that could affect Connecticut’s defense industry, the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to look into reforming the defense acquisition system.

Thursday: The House Armed Services Committee hopes to finish work on the defense authorization bill, which would authorized spending on a number of defense projects in Connecticut. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, is a panel member.

Also, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will look into the root causes of a series of propane shortages this winter.

 

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