Washington Watch, Week of July 6

Washington Watch bugCongress returns from July 4th recess with no more than 20 days of work scheduled before its month-long August recess.

But a ramp up of hostilities between the White House and congressional Republicans over immigration and other issues makes it harder than ever  to get much done.

House and Senate negotiators will try to hammer out differences and produce a final bill this week that would reform the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs.

The White House and congressional Democrats are expected to step up their warnings that a major crisis looms unless action is taken to find money to prevent a highway fund from going dry by the end of August, causing halts to projects at the height of the construction season. But many Republicans and conservative groups say Democrats are just fear-mongering.

Also this week, President Obama is expected to ask Congress for legislation that would allow the Border Patrol to speed deportation proceedings for thousands of unaccompanied child immigrants from Central America who are crossing the border illegally.

Monday, July 7:

President Obama will host a group of teachers at the White House.

Tuesday, July 8:

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on child trafficking. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is a member of the panel.

Wednesday, July 9:

House Budget Committee, headed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., will hold a hearing on  “Progress on the War on Poverty” and likely promote GOP ideas that aimed at curbing government social programs.

Also on Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will  discuss how to modernize clinical trials to more quickly find cures and treatment.

Thursday, July 10:

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs holds hearings on access to mental health care and veterans’ suicides.

Friday, July 11:

The Federal Communications Commission will vote  on a plan to spend $2 billion over the next two years to upgrade WiFi in schools and libraries across the country.

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