Washington Watch — Week of July 27

Washington Watch bugIn the last week of work before Congress’s August recess, there will be a lot of finger-pointing concerning who is responsible for failing to get must-pass legislation approved, including a final highway bill, and legislation that would deal with the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

But some are optimistic Congress will act before their break, which will extend through August and the first week of September, providing a key period of campaigning in a midterm election year.

House Republicans also plan a vote on legislation that would allow them to sue President Obama for delaying a provision of the Affordable Care Act, a move they say the president did not have the authority to make.

The Senate is expected to easily confirm Robert McDonald to be the next VA secretary before it adjourns for recess.

Monday, July 28:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee on health will hold a hearing entitled “Protecting Americans from Illegal Bailouts and Plan Cancellations Under the President’s Health Care Law.” This hearing will focus on payments to health insurance companies under the Affordable Care  and the ability of American workers to keep their group health plan under the law.

Tuesday, July 29:

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on allegations of corruption in the Export-Import Bank. The hearing, scheduled by Republicans who run the committee is an attempt to undermine efforts to reauthorize the bank, a government corporation that helps U.S. companies – including some in Connecticut — sell their goods overseas.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on “The Shootdown of Malaysian Flight 17 and the Escalating Crisis in Ukraine.”

Wednesday, July 30:

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “The IRS Targeting Scandal: the need for a Special Council.” Republicans say the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative non-profits for audits.

The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing to examine flood insurance claims process in communities after Hurricane Sandy, “focusing on lessons learned and potential improvements.”

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “Pricing Policies and Competition in the Contact Lens Industry: Is What You See What You Get.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal is a member of the panel.

Thursday, July 31:

The House Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing on student loans.