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Posted at 10:17 AM ET, 03/ 7/2011

The week ahead on the Hill: Two test votes and more budget wrangling

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 12:05 p.m.

A federal shutdown has been averted - temporarily, at least - after the House and Senate passed a stopgap measure last week to keep the government funded through March 18. But the real budget battle is yet to come. This week, all eyes are on the Senate, where the House-passed government funding measure and Senate Democrats' spending proposal are expected to come up for test votes as early as Tuesday. Neither measure is expected to pass, but the votes will likely pave the way for further negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders. Also on the agenda this week is a visit by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, a hearing featuring Ben Affleck and Rep. Pete King's (R-N.Y.) high-profile hearing on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community." Our look at the week ahead:


The House is not in session. The Senate is in at 2 p.m. There will be votes in the Senate after 5:30 p.m. on three judges, followed by a cloture vote on the patent-reform bill.

Committee hearings/other events:

1 p.m.: The conservative legal group Judicial Watch announces that it has filed a lawsuit against a member of Congress.

2:30 p.m.: Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) holds a news conference on human rights in China.


The House is in session at 2 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the House will hold suspension votes on the Dental Emergency Responder Act and the Veterinary Public Health Workforce and Education Act.

The Senate is also in session and is expected to hold a final vote on the patent-reform bill. There will likely also be up-or-down votes on the two government-funding measures: the House-passed bill and the proposal Senate Democrats announced last Friday. Both are expected to fail.

Committee hearings/other events:

9 a.m.: Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) speak at the annual meeting of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

10 a.m.: Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles testify before the Senate Budget Committee.

11:30 a.m.: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) speaks at an event on retirement security, Hilton Embassy Row.

1 p.m.: Ben Affleck and others testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee's subcommittee on Africa, global health and human rights.

2 p.m.: Simpson, Bowles, and others discuss the deficit commission's findings at a New America Foundation event.

2:20 p.m.: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard hold a joint news conference after dedicating a photo exhibit in the Capitol.


The House is in session at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m., the House and Senate will convene a joint session to receive Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Later Wednesday, the House will consider the FHA Refinance Program Termination Act and the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act. The Senate will likely be working on amendments to the patent-reform bill.

Committee hearings/other events:

9:30 a.m.: The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health holds a hearing on Social Security Administration funding.

10 a.m.: The House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a meeting on fiscal priorities in health care funding.

10 a.m.: U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk testifies before the Senate Finance Committee.

10:30 a.m.: A House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on Patriot Act reauthorization.

12 p.m.: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks on national security at the Stimson Center.

1:30 p.m.: The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on "Are Federal Workers Underpaid?"


The House is in session at 10 a.m. to consider the FHA refinance program and mortgage relief bills. The Senate is also in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

9:30 a.m.: James Clapper and Ronald Burgess testify at a Senate Armed Services hearing.

9:30 a.m.: House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community."

10 a.m.: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

10 a.m.: Douglas Holtz-Eakin testifies at a House Budget Committee hearing on debt.

10 a.m.: The Senate Judiciary Committee meets to mark up Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) Patriot Act extension bill.

11 a.m.: Attorney General Eric Holder testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

2:30 p.m.: The Senate Homeland Security Committee holsd a hearing on "Information Sharing in the Era of Wikileaks."


The House is in at 9 a.m. Votes on the FHA and mortgage relief bills are expected to wrap up by 3 p.m. The Senate is also in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

9:30 a.m.: James Jones has been invited to testify before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.

10:30 a.m.: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee.

11 a.m.: Comptroller General Gene Dodaro testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee.

10 a.m.: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testifies before House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

By Felicia Sonmez  | March 7, 2011; 10:17 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Senate Democrats take aim at House Republican spending bill, state-by-state
Next: House to vote this week on cutting foreclosure-assistance programs


I just refinanced using "123 Mortgage Refi" and went from a 5.5/20yr to a 3.25/15yr. Monthly payments went down by about $100 but overall savings over the life of the loan are over $60,000. Definitely worth it in my opinion.

Posted by: markhead77 | March 8, 2011 4:40 AM | Report abuse

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