Washington Watch, Week of July 13

Washington Watch bugA big problem for Congress this week will be finding a fix for the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for the lion’s share of most transportation projects but is running out of money.

The House of Representatives plans to hold a vote on a short-term solution that would keep the trust fund solvent until May, but the Senate wants a six-year bill.

Congress is also expected to continue debate on President Obama’s $3.7  billion request to address the immigration crisis posed by thousands of unaccompanied Central American children crossing the border. Republicans aren’t likely to give him the money, but some GOP lawmakers are receptive to the president’s plan for legislation that would allow the Border Patrol to speed deportation of the children. .

Also this week, the House will vote on a package of tax breaks aimed at providing incentives for charitable donations.

Partisan tensions are expected to boil over in the mid-summer heat as a vote in the House will consider  a resolution that would allow Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama for what Boehner calls abuses of executive power.

To add to the discord, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case will continue to roil Congress this week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that the Senate will take up a bill that would reverse the ruling and it will likely pass, but not in the House, where a companion bill was introduced.

 Tuesday, July 15:

Sen. Richard Blumenthal will preside over a Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill he sponsored that would push back on some state limitations on abortions and abortion providers.

 Wednesday, July 16:

House Rules Committee expected to consider a resolution that would give House Speaker John Boehner authority to sue President Obama for delaying the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate last year – a move Boehner says is unconstitutional.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the Affordable Care Act’s eligibility verification system.

Also on Wednesday, the state of VA health care comes under the spotlight with a hearing in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is a member of the panel.

Thursday, July 17:

Congress continues its investigation into GM with a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing titled “Examining Accountability and Corporate Culture in Wake of the GM Recalls.”

 

 

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