Talks Over Keeping the Government Open Continue
Planned Parenthood is part of those discussions, and also is in the spotlight as a panel tackles two bills to strengthen enforcement of existing abortion laws.
While the ongoing Iran debate and the battle over keeping the government open beyond Sept. 30 continue, a handful of committees and the White House will press forward on other fronts this week. Here’s what’s on tap:
The fight over what to do about Planned Parenthood will continue, both within committee and in talks about a spending bill to keep the government open. On Thursday, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing to discuss two bills that would strengthen enforcement of existing abortion laws. The committee, along with two others, is investigating Planned Parenthood after the release of a series of controversial videos over the summer. Republicans will continue to debate whether Planned Parenthood funding should be included in the continuing resolution.
In the Senate, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will tackle a much-less controversial topic, electronic health records, in a hearing Wednesday. And on Thursday, the committee’s Primary Health and Retirement subcommittee will receive a progress report from an FDA official on the implementation of biosimilars.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy pulls triple duty this week to discuss her agency’s role in a mining-waste spill that polluted two Colorado rivers. First McCarthy appears before separate hearings of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Wednesday. Then she will testify on Thursday alongside Interior Secretary Sally Jewell—whose agency is holding an independent investigation into the spill—at a joint hearing of the House Oversight and Natural Resources Committees.
Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee will bring in Louisiana’s Republican Senate delegation for a hearing on how federal policies have impacted energy production in the Gulf of Mexico, part of chairman Rob Bishop’s push to expand offshore drilling.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act on Wednesday morning. Sen. Patrick Leahy and other lawmakers have been pushing to amend the law to require police to obtain a warrant to read emails and other digital information.
President Obama heads to Des Moines, Iowa, for Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s annual back-to-school bus tour Monday. He’ll host a town hall with high school juniors and seniors, along with their parents, on college access and affordability.
After hosting the NCAA men’s basketball champions last week, Obama will have the University of Connecticut Huskies, the women’s champions, at the White House on Tuesday. That afternoon, he’ll host Felipe VI and Letizia, the king and queen of Spain, to reinforce “the strong and enduring ties between the American and Spanish people,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday.
Obama will visit wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Wednesday, and will attend a DSCC event in the Washington area on Thursday. On Friday, he’ll attend meetings at the White House, and on Saturday, he’ll deliver remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 45th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington.