QE3, Obamacare, the War on Terror & the"Super Congress"

Caryn Freeman
August recess is just two weeks away but until then there is plenty of work to be done before the late summer fun begins. This week it’s Fast Furious, QE3, Obamacare, the War on Terror, what’s ahead in Afghanistan and of course job killing policies that are hurting small business. Although temperatures have dropped in the District look for things to be heated on the Hill. With no agreement on the debt ceiling and leadership in both chambers contemplating a “Super Congress” or “Super Committee,” to deal with bipartisan stalemates the Committee on Financial Services has a lot of work to do for the week as well as the constitutional scholars.
By the way this "Super Congress," if you haven’t heard, would be a twelve member panel made up of twelve lawmakers, six from each chamber and six from each party. Legislation approved by the “Super Congress” would be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it couldn't be amended by the full Congress. Those members not on this twelve person committee would only be able to cast an up or down vote on legislation handled by the “Super Committee.”
In the meantime we still have a Congress that functions under the guise of the constitution and here’s what’s up for the week…..
Tuesday, the House Judiciary committee will take up H.R. 2572, the Cleanup Government Act of 2011. I guess while the House works on cleaning up government they might as well sweep that pesky constitution under the rug. With all of its checks and balances designed to prevent exactly what the proposed “Super Committee” will do, who needs the hassle of dealing with a full chamber of Congress. On to “Fast and Furious” we go, the arms trafficking operation led by the ATF. I’m sorry, I should be fair, the ATF operation that was designed to track and monitor arms traded in Mexico by the drug cartels. In time, with no oversight, this program deteriorated into a full blown arms trade that led to the death of at least on Border Patrol agent.
On to green pastures, and I mean really green, QE3 is back on the table. The Financial Services committee will hold a hearing on “Impact of Monetary Policy on the Economy with a Regional Fed Perspective on Inflation, Unemployment, and QE3.” Wall Street will be watching this one closely. Just the utterance of QE3 by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in his testimony to the committee two weeks ago resulted in small but significant gains on the day for the Dow Jones.
Wednesday, presents us with a day of hearings on radicalization at home and abroad. The Committee on Homeland Security will host a 9:30am hearing in Cannon on, “Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim Community and the Threat to the Homeland,” of course. If you miss the 9:30am don’t worry you can catch a 3:00pm hearing on “Preventing Violent Radicalization in America in the basement of Rayburn when the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Subcommittee on Terrorism hosts their own hearing. Personally, I find a trip to the basement of Rayburn for anything other than a soft serve pretty radical myself.
Moving on, from the Axis of Evil comes the  Axis of Abuse: U.S. Human Rights Policy toward Iran and Syria, Part 1, presented by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Subcommittee on Terrorism. If you’re looking for something a bit less radical, the committee on Education and Workforce will host a full committee hearing on  Education Reforms: Exploring Teacher Quality Initiatives. Congress will continue to look into Oversight of the Credit Rating Agencies Post Dodd-Frank and if you’re interested in international intrigue the Committee on Financial Services subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade will be looking into the “Impact of the World Bank and Multi-Lateral Development Banks on National Security and U.S. Job Creation.

Thursday brings, Medicare, Obamacare, the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and, PPACA the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or more Obamacare, are on the table. Thursday’s hearings should bring fervent debate from both sides of the isle and possible campaign attack ad footage. Each one of these issues has galvanized both parties voting base in the lead up to next year’s presidential election. We may see this week’s “best verbal smack-down” on Thursday.

Just a few other hearings Thursday, the committee on Veterans affairs will hold a mark-up hearing. Other legislative hearings Thursday will look at  H.R. 50, H.R. 1760 and H.R. 1761 in the Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs.

Have a great week, just two more weeks until August recess and eight days to the debt ceiling deadline. Soon this debt debacle will all be behind us. Enjoy cooler temperatures for the week and I’ll be back Friday with the weekly wrap-up.