Scandals continue to dominate talk
The scandals that have plagued the Obama administration over the last few weeks continued to dominate the talk in Washington this week.
Not even Congress being out of session could give the Obama administration some rest from the trio of scandals – House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) issued subpoenas this week for e-mails and other documents relating to the 9/11 attacks in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is also expected to continue hearings into the IRS targeting of conservative groups when Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess next week.
Oversight and Government Reform isn't the only committee weighing in on the recent scandals – the House Judiciary Committee is examining whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during congressional testimony on May 15th regarding the Justice Department's monitoring of journalists.
Second term Cabinet updates
President Obama is expected to nominate James Comey, a former Justice Department official under George W. Bush, to serve as the next FBI Director. Comey is likely to sail to confirmation with wide bipartisan support. Comey is likely to be selected instead of Lisa Monaco, another rumored candidate for the position, who currently serves as President Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor. Monaco would face a much tougher confirmation than Comey.
President Obama is naming Jason Furman, a longtime economic adviser, as the next chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He will replace Alan Krueger, the council's current chairman, who is returning to Princeton University in the fall to maintain his tenure status.
The saga of the nomination of Richard Cordray to serve as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues. It was reported this week that Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) has been conferring with Richard Cordray to determine how best to get his nomination moving forward. Portman hopes to be able to move the Cordray nomination forward to a showdown over the use of filibusters in the Senate.
Climate change gets new life?
Despite the fact that President Obama's reelection campaign was almost completely silent on the issue of global warming, Organizing for Action, the advocacy group tooled from his 2012 campaign machine, has launched a campaign designed to build support for the president's climate-change agenda.
At the same time that Organizing for Action announced its new campaign, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) laid out his vision for combatting climate-change in a speech this week. Alexander, one of the few Republican voices in either chamber willing to talk about the issue, emphasized the need for private sector innovation, rather than government intervention, to tackle the issue.
Minnesota – Sixth Congressional District: Controversial Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the founder of the House Tea Party caucus, announced this week that she would not seek a fifth term in Congress. Bachmann's decision comes as good news for Republicans hoping to protect their House majority. Bachmann was the subject of a federal investigation and faced a tough reelection against a Democrat who she bested by just one percent in 2012.
Iowa – Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R-IA) announced this week that he will not run for the Senate seat of retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). As a result, all seven Republican statewide or federal officeholders have now announced that they decided against running for the seat.
A look ahead:
Monday, June 3 – The House Oversight and Government Reform’s Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing on IRS oversight at 3:00 p.m. in 2359 Rayburn.
Monday, June 3 – The House Foreign Affairs Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Tragic Anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests and Massacre at 3:00 p.m. in 2172 Rayburn.
Washington by the numbers:
$4.72 BILLION – The largest merger between a U.S. and Chinese company in history was proposed this week between U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods and Shuanghui International Holdings.
How much does it cost to go on an alligator hunt with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for a super PAC fundraiser? A mere $5,000 (Yes, this is an actual Vitter fundraiser – sometimes reality is funnier than fiction).
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