The Week Ahead: Libya, nukes, budget

Three topics will be dominating Capitol Hill this week: the situation in Libya, the fallout from the nuclear crisis in Japan and the federal budget.

Both the House and the Senate will continue their talks to come up with a compromise on cuts to the 2011 budget this week, before the current stopgap measure funding the government expires April 8.

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Congress is on its sixth continuing resolution since the fiscal year started on Oct. 1, and Republicans and Democrats in both legislative chambers have indicated they are through passing stopgap measures, and are ready to let the government shut down if no agreement on the budget is reached.

At the same time, President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal is still under review, and members of Obama’s cabinet and leaders from other federal agencies will testify before the House and Senate on the proposal, which was released in February. 

Following the backlash on Obama’s decision to take military action against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, several administration officials will brief lawmakers on the mission in Libya on Wednesday. The president will deliver a live speech on Monday night.

And nuclear experts will also head to Capitol Hill to testify on nuclear safety in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

Plus the latest unemployment numbers come out Friday.

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Monday March 28

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will deliver remarks at the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual housing policy conference. His remarks begin at 11:45 a.m. in the Palladian Room in the Omni Shoreham Hotel, located at 2500 Calvert St. NW.

Obama will attend an education townhall titled “The Moment is Now: The President, Hispanics and Education” at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington at 10:30 a.m.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will deliver a “State of the District” address at Eastern High School at 6:45 p.m. The school is located at 1700 East Capitol St. NE.

President Obama will give an address to the nation on the situation in Libya at 7:30 p.m. Obama will be speaking from the National Defense University.

Tuesday March 29

Obama will be in New York City to deliver remarks at the dedication of the Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations building.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to London to attend an international conference on the Libyan crisis.

U.S. European Command chief Adm. James Stavridis is scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the 2012 budget but the situation in Libya is likely to come up. Stavridis also is NATO’s supreme allied commander, and has been at the center of Libya planning and offensive operations. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in Dirksen G-50.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testifies before the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on the Transportation Department’s budget. The hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. in Rayburn 2358.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan earlier this month. Acting Assistant Energy Secretary of the Office of Nuclear Energy Peter Lyons and other experts on nuclear technology will testify at the 10 a.m. hearing in Dirksen 366.

The Senate Constitution, Civil Rights, Human Rights, and the Law Subcommittee will meet for a hearing entitled “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims.” Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez, and others, will testify. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 226.

A panel of government and military insiders – including Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Lewis Libby, former chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney – will discuss former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s recent memoir “Known and Unknown.” Rumseld will later respond to the panel’s comments. The invitation-only event begins at 3 p.m. at the Hudson Institute on 1015 15th Street NW.

Wednesday March 30

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen will brief lawmakers on the mission in Libya. The briefing is for members only and takes place at 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium.

FBI Director Robert Mueller will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing titled “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 226.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to analyze a report from the 9/11 Commission 10 years after the terrorist attack. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 342.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius heads back to Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Obama’s proposed 2012 budget. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 124.

Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Greg Jaczko and Lyons will testify before the Senate Energy and Water Subcommittee on nuclear safety following the nuclear disaster in Japan. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 138.

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing to identify roadblocks to job creation and how budget deficits and debt affects job growth. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in Longworth 1100.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski testifies before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on the FCC’s budget. The hearing starts at 2 p.m. in Rayburn 2359.

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf and others testify before the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on “The Costs of Implementing the Dodd-Frank Act.” The hearing begins at 2 p.m. in Rayburn 2128.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold an event on the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Scheduled to speak are Elizabeth Warren, the assistant to the president in charge of establishing the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.); and Chamber President Tom Donohue.

The Congressional Correspondents’ Dinner takes place at the Washington Convention Center at 8:45 p.m. Several members of Congress are scheduled to address the dinner, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) and Cedric Richmond (D-La.).

Thursday March 31

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will meet to define the U.S. national security interest in Libya. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg will testify at the hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2172.

Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey testify before the Senate Arms Services Committee on the Defense Authorization Request for the 2012 budget. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in Dirksen 6-50.

Lyons and Jackzo head over to the House to testify before the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee on the 2012 budget Energy Department budget for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and nuclear energy. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2362-B.

Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testifies before the Senate Military Construction, Veteran Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee on the VA budget. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 124.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. testifies before the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee on NASA’s budget. The hearing begins at 10:30 a.m. in Dirksen 192.

Friday April 1

The Labor Department will update the unemployment rate. In February, the department announced that the jobless rate fell to 8.9 percent from 9.1 percent in January, marking the first time unemployment fell below 9 percent since April 2009.

Sebelius will testify before the House Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee on healthcare reform. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2359.

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry testifies before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on OPM’s budget. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2358-C.

—John T. Bennett, Peter Schroeder and Emily Goodin contributed.