Washington Watch, Week of June 15

Washington Watch bugHouse and Senate will face a lot of pressure this week to agree on a final veteran’s health care bill.

But that debate is likely to be overshadowed by events in Iraq.

Also on the agenda this week is a House Republican vote for a new majority leader in the wake of Eric Cantor’s primary election defeat.

The Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl prisoner-exchange controversy is also expected to remain in the limelight.

 Monday, June 16

The Supreme Court is expected to issue decisions.

Tuesday, June 17

The nomination of Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development is subject to a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The Senate will begin debate on a package of spending bills. One of them, which would fund the Agriculture Department next year, would cut the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program by $93 million.

Also on Tuesday, a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs panel will hold an investigative hearing into high-speed trading. It will be closely watched by Wall Street.  Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce Committee, which includes Sen. Richard Blumenthal as a member, will hold a hearing on the advertising claims of manufacturers of weight-loss products.

Wednesday, June 18

The Senate Banking Committee will take on the issue of high-speed trading.  Also, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the marketing of e-cigarettes to minors, an issue Blumenthal has seized upon.

Friday, June 20

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing into whether the awarding of bonuses to VA officials encouraged some of them to cover up long wait times for care at their facilities.