Life on the Hill will be quite busy for staffers & members of Congress this week. With over forty hearings and the seemingly endless debt ceiling negotiations Hill staffers will have their hands full. Plan on burning the midnight oil this week. On the House side the Judiciary, Way and Means, budget and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are all holding hearings on Medicare which has become the boomerang of the debt ceiling negotiations. In what could be a week full of opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to fill their campaign armory with political capital on Medicare. Say the wrong thing in any of these hearings and you could be the star of your opponents attack ad with twisted interpretations of your position on entitlement programs.Monday, Congress will start addressing the role of social security law judges. The Judiciary and Ways and Means committees will hold simultaneous hearings on this. Looks like leadership wants to start the week off continuing to explore entitlements.
Tuesday, Congress will continue with debate and testimony on entitlements with two hearings on Medicare. The first will examine the Independent Payment Advisor Board. The second hearing aims to trigger a Medicare plan from the Administration. Also on Tuesday H.R. 463, Fannie and Freddie Transparency Act will attempt to ensure that there are no future reductions in dividend payments from Fannie & Freddie whom the mortgage company agreed to pay the U.S. for funds received from the TARP bailout.
In a strange paradox that only Congress could produce, Wednesday @ 9:30am Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on TARP will hold a hearing to discuss what went wrong with the TARP bail out. Thirty minutes later @ 10:00am Ben Berneke will be down the hall in Rayburn testifying on the Federal Reserve’s outlook on the looming Debt Crisis.
The week is full of hearings to get to the bottom of what’s wrong with our economy, figuring out where the jobs are and working on the debt ceiling. Another hearing on Wednesday will explore reducing regulatory burdens on business, ensuring the flow of commerce and protecting jobs.” If anyone were capable of “ensuring the flow of commerce in the U.S.,” Congress wouldn't have to hold multiple hearings on these topics. H.R. 527 Regulatory Flexibility and Improvements Act and H.R. 585 Small Business Size standard Flexibility Act of 2011 are also being marked up on Wednesday.Thursday Congress will get around to the Fair Labor Standards Act: “Is it meeting the need of the Twenty-First century workplace?” Probably not, some parts of this hearing will likely rehash, some of Wednesday’s Transportation Committee hearing on reducing regulatory burdens, ensuring the flow of commerce and protecting jobs. FEMA will be on the Hill for a hearing with the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to discuss cutting the red tape within the agency
By the time Friday rolls around, and this could be the mother of all TGIF’s, the Department of Interior will reveal its plans to the Committee on Natural Resources regarding its tactics for off-shore energy, safety and most importantly revenue organization. A quick run-down of what Congress and staffers are facing this week, in addition to the ticking time bomb of the debt ceiling; Medicare, Social Security, Freddie and Fannie, land trusts for native americans, maritime security, securing rural schools, pipeline safety, caregiver assistance, Nasa’s space launch system, USDA farm loan program, abandoned