Washington Watch, Week of Sept. 14

Washington Watch bugLawmakers will try to leave Washington at the end of the week for the home-stretch of campaigning before Election Day. But before Congress recesses, it must first consider President Obama’s request for authority to arm Syrian rebels – something several members of the Connecticut congressional delegation, including Sen. Chris Murphy, oppose.

Lawmakers will also play host this week to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who will be addressing Congress on Thursday, amid the ongoing incursion of Russian forces into his country’s territory.

Domestic concerns will also be addressed, especially a short-term spending bill that would keep the government running past Sept. 30.

Monday, Sept. 15:

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, will  hold a press conference in Waterbury to announce the award of a $14.4 million TIGER Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the town. TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.

Tuesday, Sept. 16:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee to defend the Obama administration plan to defeat Islamic militants known as ISIS. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who is skeptical about the military campaign, is on the panel.

Also on Tuesday, President Obama will fly to Atlanta to receive a briefing at the Centers for Disease Control on the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Wednesday, Sept. 17:

Secretary of State John Kerry will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to sell the president’s ISIS plan. Murphy, who is becoming a leading opponent of an escalated U.S. military presence in Syria, is on the committee.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, and other members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will finish work on the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, legislation that is meant to address safety issues for Metro-North and Amtrak.

Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on a bill establishing pilot programs that would require increased work requirements for food stamp beneficiaries. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a strong supporter of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (SNAP) is on the panel.

Thursday, Sept. 18:

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the nomination of Victor Allen Bolden for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Blumenthal is on the panel.

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