Washington Watch, Week of May 4

The Senate will vote on the controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, and a Senate committee will hold confirmation hearings (expected to be heated) for President Obama’s nominee to replace Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services secretary.

Washington Watch bugThere will also be tense moments in the House, which has scheduled a vote on whether to call on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS’s special scrutiny of tea party groups and other conservative organizations.

President Obama will travel to California this week to attend several fundraisers for Democratic Party organizations.

Monday:  House Armed Services Committee plans to release National Defense Authorization Act. Connecticut’s defense industry is keen on the bill because it approves spending for all of the nation’s weapons systems in the coming fiscal year. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, is a member of the panel.

The Supreme Court will release a list of additional cases it will hear this session. Among those under consideration is one that would determine whether the Second Amendment secures the right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense.

In the evening, the president will host a Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House.

Wednesday:  House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a hearing on  Affordable Care Act enrollment and the insurance industry. A list of witnesses has not yet been released.

Thursday: President Obama’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services — Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell – will appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is a panel member.