Washington Watch bug

In the week before Congress’ Memorial Day Break, the House will tackle a bill that would  boost accountability at the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs.

Washington Watch bug

Legislation that would provide billions of dollars for Connecticut’s defense contractors will also move forward this week with a House vote on the National Defense Authorization bill and action in the House Appropriations Committee on a defense spending bill that would fund all projects in the authorization bill.

In addition, the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to begin its own action on a defense authorization bill. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.,  is a member of the panel.

The nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Health and Human Services secretary may also be voted upon by the Senate this week.

Monday, May 19:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will join Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, U.S. Sens. Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Mayor Pedro Segarra and Connecticut Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor in a town hall on college affordability a University High School of Science and Engineering in Hartford.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to issue opinions. Cases that have not been decided yet include Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which will determined whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, in this case the Affordable Care Act, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.

Tuesday, May 20:

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing “to examine economic security for working women” as part of a Democratic strategy to appeal to women voters in this election year. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is a member of the panel.

Wednesday, May 21:

The House Appropriations Committee will begin work on a transportation bill that governors, including Dannel Malloy, have a keen interest in as they worry federal road and railroad money is drying up.  Malloy visited officials at the Department of Transportation during a visit to Washington D.C. last week.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on the “Never Contract With the Enemy Act” sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, that would forbid federal agencies from entering into contracts with hostile powers.

Also on Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Boko Haram: The Growing Threat to Schoolgirls, Nigeria, and Beyond,” to discuss what, if anything, Congress can do to recover schoolgirls kidnapped by a radical group.

Thursday, May 22:

President Obama will continue his fundraising trips for other Democratic party in a visit to Chicago.

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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