Doc fix facing a fight in the Senate
The bipartisan permanent doc fix that was overwhelmingly passed by the House before the current recess is facing a new hurdle in the Senate. Deficit hawks are preparing to put up a fight over the bill when the Senate reconvenes next week and takes it up.
It was hard to imagine that the Senate wouldn’t go along with the House proposal after it garnered 392 votes, but conservatives in the Senate are complaining that the bill is largely unpaid for and outside groups like Heritage Action and the Club for Growth have weighed in against it.
Several options are said to be on the table to force changes to the doc-fix bill, according to sources on and off the Hill who are looking at the possibilities. Among them are: an amendment that would simply require the full cost of a permanent doc-fix be paid for; an amendment with specific proposals to make up the costs, drawing from a 2011 bill from then-Sens. Tom Coburn and Joe Lieberman; and a motion to strike a provision in the House bill that exempts it from a congressional requirement not to increase the deficit.
The latter, forwarded in a two-sheet brief being circulated on the Hill, would then institute mandatory spending cuts to Medicare at the end of the year unless Congress came up with an alternative plan to cover the costs.
Some of these deficit hawks are particularly rankled that House Republican leaders sold the doc-fix deal as fiscally responsible; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the conservative American Action Forum and former Congressional Budget Office director, issued an analysis that the deal would pay for itself after the second-decade savings were considered, and House leaders cited his findings.
But the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFRB) put out its own score the day before the House passed the bill, arguing that it would add $500 billion to the deficit over that 20-year time line. CFRB also took the time to refute a press release from the House Energy and Commerce Committee touting the fiscal benefits of the bill.
The hope for those opposing the deal is that the Senate procedure will make it easier to force a vote on one of their proposals—a motion to strike the bill's so-called "PAYGO" exemption, for example, requires just one member to make and 51 votes to approve. If they can force a vote, the thinking goes, it will be harder for Republicans and maybe some conservative Democrats to appear in favor of deficit-spending.
There isn't much downside to the effort in the eyes of those pushing for these changes, though Boehner isn't believed to be open to taking the bill back up in the House after it had passed with such huge margins, and senators might still balk at approving changes after such a significant bipartisan majority already approved it in the lower chamber.
AG confirmation battle coming to a head
The confirmation of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General was once looked at as a slam dunk for the Obama administration – but not anymore. More and more Republicans, even some in tough 2016 re-elections, are opposing the nomination. The latest is Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, from blue-leaning Wisconsin.
However, not all Republicans are lining up to block the pick, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), who also faces a tough re-election in deep blue Illinois, recently announced he would support the nomination. Kirk’s announcement gave the Democrats the fifth vote they need to confirm her.
Of the 24 Republicans facing reelection next year, Kirk is the first to side with Democrats on the issue. He joins Sens. Susan Collins, Orrin Hatch, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake—who are not up in 2016—in support of Lynch's nomination.
Kirk said he will support Lynch after having several conversations with her not about immigration, but gang violence, particularly in Chicago. Johnson's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the thinking behind his decision.
The closeness of the vote has put additional pressure on the 2016 contenders. Seventeen Republicans who are up for reelection in 2016 have said they will oppose Lynch's nomination. They include Johnson and vulnerable Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, as well as presidential contenders Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.
The rest are undecided, including some of the 2016 map's most vulnerable members. And Kirk's decision to give Lynch the fifth Republican vote she needs could provide breathing room to those 2016ers who remain on the fence to make a decision in either direction.
Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio are keeping mum and are top-targets for Democrats hoping to bolster their numbers in favor of Lynch. Sen. Mike Crapo, in a much safer seat for a 2016 reelection, also is undecided on Lynch.
They are not alone. In addition to Ayotte, Crapo, Murkowski, and Portman, another 13 Republicans are publicly uncommitted on the Lynch nomination. They include members of leadership, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and two of his deputies, Sens. John Barrasso and John Thune; freshmen Sens. Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner, Mike Rounds and Dan Sullivan; Sens. Thad Cochran and Pat Roberts, both of whom won close primary contests last year against conservative challengers; Sen. Dean Heller, a frequent cross-over voter; and stalwart conservatives such as Sens. Mike Enzi and Tim Scott.
It remains unclear just how much time members will have to make up their minds. McConnell said before the recess that the Senate would not take up the Lynch nomination until it finishes its work on a human trafficking bill that was spiked over Democratic objections and the pressure of a budget deadline last month.
The delay has allowed the vote to go from a sure-thing to a situation in which every Republican vote has faced increased scrutiny. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley told National Journal in January that Lynch's nomination was very likely to go through; the question was when it would occur. And he reiterated that with near-certainty when his committee passed Lynch onto the full Senate in late February.
On the right, members face fierce criticism from conservative groups who have elevated Lynch, a U.S. Attorney in New York, as a symbol for the immigration fight, particularly after congressional Republicans were unable to attach the issue to funding for the Homeland Security Department last month.
On the left, Democrats are forcefully pushing Lynch's qualifications for the job to the forefront and questioning the historic delay for an attorney general nominee. Any Obama nominee for the job is bound to agree with him with on the immigration issue, one Senate Democratic aide argued. If Republicans are successful in wearing Lynch's patience down, the next nominee could have other problems that would make her even more distasteful to Senate Republicans.
Bipartisan deal reached on NCLB
Maybe the bipartisan love affair on the Hill will last a little longer. After the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of the Doc Fix in the House, the top Democrat and the top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) on Tuesday announced that they had reached agreement on a bipartisan bill that would reform the No Child Left Behind program.
The compromise is the product of months of negotiations between HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking Democrat Patty Murray (D-WA). The legislation could be one of the few major bills this year that could pass a Republican Congress and still be signed by President Obama. The committee will meet to vote on it next week. If it survives the committee more or less intact with a respectable bipartisan vote, Alexander expects the measure to be on the Senate floor in the weeks after the committee reports it. He is close with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and has kept the leader informed of his progress on the bill.
Passage of a major education bill in the Senate would put considerable pressure on House lawmakers to pass their own bill. The House Education and the Workforce Committee has approved a more conservative education measure than the Senate's draft, but it was unceremoniously yanked from the floor in February during a particularly rough patch for House Speaker John Boehner.
There are still critiques of the House bill that it doesn't go far enough to the right, but Committee Chairman John Kline also has the conservative credentials that could massage those doubts. He views his role as the negotiator that will move the moderate Senate bill farther to the right and still come up with something Obama can sign. Republicans like him argue that any education legislation they pass would be far better than the current situation, where the Education Secretary is essentially dictating school policy through waivers. The waivers make the federal government far more powerful than even the original law intended.
No Child Left Behind, a signature achievement of President George W. Bush, was passed in 2001 and co-written by Boehner. The law required schools to collect data on how children from various minority groups and economic groups were performing - something they weren't required to do before the bill's passage.
But No Child Left Behind also did some damage. It set up achievement targets that schools had to meet or face penalties. Those targets, it turned out, were poorly calibrated and put many school districts in dire situations. Lack of congressional progress on an education bill then forced the Education Department to dole out waivers to states if they met certain criteria. It's a situation nobody likes. Murray and Alexander hope their bipartisan bill will fix these problems.
Murray won a few key concessions from Alexander's original draft. The Murray/Alexander bill eliminates a provision in Alexander's draft that would have allowed local school districts to supersede federal tests with their own, local assessments. It retains language that some Republicans may dislike that requires states to use two federal tests per year in math and reading in grades 3 through 8. But it also allows states to determine on their own how much weight those test results are given in their own accountability systems.
A particularly important win for Murray is the bill's allowance of federal funds for early education programs. A former pre-school teacher, she has championed the cause of educating the youngest children since she came to the Senate two decades ago.
CMS avoids Medicare cuts
Medicare Advantage will not see a payment cut this year, indeed, for the third year in a row Medicare Advantage will receive a payment increase.
A payment raise of 1.25 percent is a reversal of the .9 percent cut announced in February. The change, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, is because of updated Medicare spending estimates. Medicare Advantage plans are administered by private insurers as an alternative to traditional Medicare.
Almost 300 lawmakers signed letters written to CMS separately by the House and the Senate after February's announcement urging the agency to reverse the cuts. The insurance industry also lobbied against them.
Medicare Advantage has hit a record high enrollment each year since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, increasing by 42 percent. It now serves 16 million people, and nearly 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in an Medicare Advantage plan.
Premiums have fallen by almost six percent since 2010, and more than 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have access to a Medicare Advantage plan for which they do not have to pay a premium, according to CMS.
Other changes announced Monday include updates to the star rating system used to assess the performance of plans, a commitment to further study the relationship between dual-eligible or low-income status enrollees and performance, and improvements to information available to enrollees regarding plan networks.
Transportation in Focus
DOT's hire local proposal under fire
Last month, the Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled a proposal that would allow state and local agencies to give hiring preferences to local workers and to allow certain employee demographic benchmarks on federally funded projects.
According to the DOT, federal contracting rules have traditionally prohibited the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) from allowing recipients to use contract provisions that do not directly relate to the performance of work but further social or economic goals, functionally prohibiting local hire provisions.
When Transportation Secretary Foxx announced the proposal he said that, "local workers often have the greatest stake in local road and transit projects, but federal rules make it hard for communities to ensure that their workers reap some of the benefits and that’s just not right."
Not everyone, however, is supportive of the proposal. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association opposes the plan saying it would, "increase costs, decrease competition, and could actually result in less frequent hiring of minorities and women. In particular, the group says that allowing residency-based hiring restrictions could dramatically limit competition in the bidding process - potentially raising costs to the government and taxpayers - and could force companies to hire workers who are not as well-qualified.
DOT rolled out the proposal as a pilot program in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama. This week, the agency announced it would extend public comment on the proposal for an additional month, giving opponents and supporters time to weigh in.
California 21st Congressional District: Daniel Parra (D-CA), the mayor pro tem of Fowler, declared a bid Monday to challenge Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) for the Fresno-area House seat.
Illinois 18th Congressional District: Homebuilder Ed Brady (R-IL) ruled out a run to replace Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) in the special election in Illinois’ 18th District. He instead endorsed state Sen. Darin LaHood (R-IL), who announced he would run the day after Schock resigned last month and said last week that he’d raised $210,000 over the last three weeks.
Arizona Senate: Long-time Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced that he will seek re-election in 2016. McCain is expected to draw a GOP primary challenger.
California Senate: California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-CA) reported raising $2.5 million in the first quarter of the year and has $2.2 million cash on hand.
Colorado Senate: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) raised more than $2 million in the first quarter and has $2.9 million banked for 2016.
Florida Senate: A Quinnipiac University poll shows state CFO Jeff Atwater (R-FL) leading Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) 38-34 percent in a head-to-head match-up.
Nevada Senate: This week, former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) launched her campaign for Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) seat in 2016 and immediately was endorsed by the Democratic Party hierarchy, with Reid sending a fundraising email for her and the DSCC giving a quick endorsement.
Ohio Senate: Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld (D) raised $750,000 in the first quarter. A Quinnipiac University poll shows former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) leading Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 48-39 percent, while Sittenfeld trails Portman by 17 points.
Pennsylvania Senate: A Quinnipiac University poll shows Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) leading former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) 48-35 percent.
Louisiana Governor: Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R-LA) officially launched his campaign for governor Monday and toured the state this week.
Rand Paul (R-KY): Senator Paul announced his bid for the GOP nomination for president on Tuesday in a speech in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ted Cruz (R-TX): Super-PACs supporting Ted Cruz’s GOP bid for president have reportedly raised $31 million since he jumped into the race. The figure far exceeds what experts believed Cruz’s fundraising ability would be.
Hillary Clinton (D-NY): Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hasn’t announced a bid for president yet, but it is being widely reported that her staffers have been put on notice that an announcement could come any day.
Linc Chafee (D-RI): Former Republican Senator and former Independent Governor Linc Chafee announced the formation of an exploratory committee in his efforts to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.
Chicago Mayor: Former White House Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) won his re-election contest Tuesday night and bested challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) in a run-off.
A LOOK AHEAD
Monday, April 13
4:00 p.m. House Veterans' Affairs Committee - Hearing. Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "Addressing Continued Whistleblower Retaliation Within VA."
Tuesday, April 14
9:00 a.m. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing. Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the "Early Education" budget.
10:00 a.m. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing. Defense Subcommittee hearing on the Defense Health Program budget.
10:00 a.m. House Agriculture Committee - Hearing. Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee hearing on "Reauthorizing the CFTC: Commissioners' Perspectives."
10:00 a.m. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing. Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement budget.
10:00 a.m. House Energy and Commerce Committee - Hearing. Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on "The EPA's Proposed 111(d) Rule for Existing Power Plants and the 'Ratepayer Protection Act.'"
10:00 a.m. House Judiciary Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Oversight of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement."
10:00 a.m. House Armed Services Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "National Defense Priorities from Members for the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act."
10:00 a.m. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - Hearing. Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee hearing on "Oversight of the Ongoing Rail, Pipeline and Hazmat Rulemakings."
10:00 a.m. House Ways and Means Committee - Hearing. Health Subcommittee hearing on "The Individual and Employer Mandates in the President's Health Care Law."
10:00 a.m. House Education and the Workforce Committee - Hearing. Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee hearing on "Five Years of Broken Promises: How the President's Health Care Law is Affecting America's Workplaces."
10:15 a.m. House Energy and Commerce Committee - Hearing. Environment and the Economy Subcommittee hearing on the "TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) Modernization Act of 2015."
10:15 a.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee - Hearing. Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee hearing on "The Crude Oil Export Ban: Helpful or Hurtful?"
10:30 a.m. House Veterans' Affairs Committee - Hearing. Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee on H.R.675, the "Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2015"; H.R.677, the "American Heroes COLA Act of 2015"; H.R.732, the "Veterans Access to Speedy Review Act"; H.R.800, the "Express Appeals Act"; H.R.1067, the "U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Reform Act"; H.R.1331, the "Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2015"; H.R.1379, to authorize the Board of Veterans' Appeals to develop evidence in appeal cases; H.R.1414, the "Pay As You Rate Act"; H.R.1569, to clarify that the estate of a deceased veteran may receive certain accrued benefits upon the death of the veteran; and H.R.1607, to improve the disability compensation evaluation procedure of the secretary of Veterans Affairs for veterans with mental health conditions related to military sexual trauma.
11:00 a.m. House Natural Resources Committee - Hearing. Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee hearing on H.R.329, the "Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2015"; H.R.521, to provide for the conveyance of certain property to the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation located in Bethel, Alaska; H.R.812, the "Indian Trust Asset Reform Act."
1:00 p.m. House Agriculture Committee - Hearing. Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee hearing on "A Presentation by National 4-H Conference Participants Concerning the Future of Agriculture in the United States."
1:30 p.m. House Natural Resources Committee - Hearing. Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee hearing on "Proposed Federal Water Grabs and Their Potential Impacts on States, Water and Power Users, and Landowners."
2:00 p.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee - Hearing. Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee hearing on "Yemen Under Attack by Iranian-Backed Houthis."
2:00 p.m. House Judiciary Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on H.R.9, the "Innovation Act."
2:00 p.m. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "GAO's Duplication Report at Five Years: Recommendations Remain Unaddressed."
3:30 p.m. House Armed Services Committee - Hearing. Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee hearing on "Update on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program and the FY2016 Budget Request."
Wednesday, April 15
9:00 a.m. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing. Defense Subcommittee hearing on the FY2016 Defense Appropriations bill.
9:00 a.m. House Natural Resources Committee - Hearing. Federal Lands Subcommittee hearing on "Federal Land Acquisition and its Impacts on Communities and the Environment."
10:00 a.m. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and House Financial Services Committee - Hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules Subcommittee and House Financial Services Committee Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee joint hearing on "Oversight of Efforts to Reform the Export-Import Bank of the United States."
10:00 a.m. House Agriculture Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "The Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: The World of Nutrition and the Role of the Charitable Sector."
10:00 a.m. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing. Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on the Securities and Exchange Commission budget.
10:00 a.m. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing. Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the budget for ebola.
10:00 a.m. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing. Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement budget.
10:00 a.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Confronting Russia's Weaponization of Information."
10:00 a.m. House Natural Resources Committee - Hearing. Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hearing on "Examining the Future Impacts of President Obama's Offshore Energy Plan."
10:00 a.m. House Armed Services Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "The Risk of Losing Military Technology Superiority and its Implications for U.S. Policy, Strategy, and Posture in the Asia-Pacific."
10:00 a.m. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "The President's UN Climate Pledge: Scientifically Justified or a New Tax on Americans?"
10:00 a.m. House Education and the Workforce Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Serving Students and Families through Child Nutrition Programs."
10:30 a.m. House Homeland Security Committee - Meeting. Full committee meeting on "Roundtable Discussion on Boston Marathon Bombings Anniversary."
10:30 a.m. House Veterans' Affairs Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Assessing the Promise and Progress of the Choice Program."
10:30 a.m. House Veterans' Affairs Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Denver VA Medical Center: Constructing a Way Forward," focusing on mismanagement, delays and cost overruns associated with the replacement Denver VA medical center.
11:00 a.m. House Small Business Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Tax Reform: Ensuring that Main Street Isn't Left Behind."
1:00 p.m. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee - Hearing. Government Operations Subcommittee hearing on "The Taxpayer Advocate's Annual Report."
2:00 p.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee - Markup. Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee markup of H.R.1150, to amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to improve the ability of the United States to advance religious freedom globally through enhanced diplomacy, training, counterterrorism and foreign assistance efforts, and through stronger and more flexible political responses to religious freedom violations and violent extremism worldwide; and H.Res.50, calling for the release of Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who was captured by Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine and has been held illegally in a Russian prison since July 2014.
2:00 p.m. House Appropriations Committee - Hearing. State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee hearing on the United Nations and International Organizations budget.
2:00 p.m. House Judiciary Committee - Hearing. Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "Analyzing Misconduct in Federal Law Enforcement."
2:00 p.m. House Armed Services Committee - Hearing. Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee hearing on "The Role of Surface Forces in Presence, Deterrence, and Warfighting."
2:00 p.m. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - Hearing. Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee hearing on "An Overview of the U.S. Coast Guard's Missions."
2:30 p.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee - Hearing. Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee hearing on "The Continuing Threat of Neglected Tropical Diseases."
3:30 p.m. House Armed Services Committee - Hearing. Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on "FY2016 Nuclear Forces."
Tuesday, April 14
9:30 a.m. Senate Armed Services Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on U.S. defense policy issues pertaining to the Asia-Pacific theater.
10:00 a.m. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Reducing Unnecessary Duplication in Federal Programs: Billions More Could Be Saved."
10:00 a.m. Senate Finance Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Creating a More Efficient and Level Playing Field: Audit and Appeals Issues in Medicare."
10:00 a.m. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee - Markup. Full committee markup of the "Every Child Achieves Act of 2015"; the "Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Technical Amendments Act"; and votes on the nomiations of Ericka Miller as assistant Education secretary for postsecondary education and Michael Yudin as assistant Education secretary for special education and rehabilitative services.
10:00 a.m. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization."
2:15 p.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee - Markup. Full committee markup of S.615, the "Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015."
Wednesday, April 15
9:30 a.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "American Food Aid: Why Reform."
10:00 a.m. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "IRS Challenges in Implementing the Affordable Care Act."
1:30 p.m. Senate (Special Committee on) Aging - Hearing. Full committee hearing on "Catch Me If You Can: The IRS Impersonation Scam and What Is Being Done About It."
2:15 p.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee - Markup. Full committee markup of pending calendar business.
2:30 p.m. Senate Armed Services Committee - Hearing. Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on the National Nuclear Security Administration plans and programs in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2016 and the Future Years Defense Program.
Thursday, April 16
TBA Senate Appropriations Committee - Hearing. Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the FY2016 military construction and military family housing budget request for select Combatant Commanders and select Defense Agencies.
9:30 a.m. Senate Armed Services Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2016 and the Future Years Defense Program.
10:00 a.m. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee - Hearing. Full committee hearing on the Energy Information Administration's annual energy outlook for 2015.
2:30 p.m. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee - Hearing. Public Lands, Forests and Mining Subcommittee hearing on "The Bureau of Land Management's The Final Hydraulic Fracturing Rule."
WASHINGTON BY THE NUMBERS
2 - The number of presidential elections won by the Whig Party: 1840 and 1848.
31 million - The amount of money raised by super PACs affiliated with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) since he announced his bid for president.
THEY SAID WHAT?
"Early on, when my wife and I were dating, we went to the grocery store and I told her that sometimes I just buy birthday cakes, and I eat them." - Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
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