The Week Ahead: Deficit reduction

Returning to Washington this week after a two-week recess, lawmakers are expected to focus on deficit reduction.

After a shutdown was averted last month with an 11th-hour measure funding the government through September, the full debate over the 2012 budget plan can begin.



The three Republican and three Democratic senators in the Gang of Six are expected to unveil their deficit-reduction plan soon. The proposal will be seen by some as a bipartisan alternative to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.).


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he will force a vote on Ryan’s plan to get Republicans on the record on its more controversial reforms, including to Medicare. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he intends to force a vote on President Obama’s 2012 budget too, to put Democrats on the spot.

Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday will bring together his own gang of six — the so-called Biden Commission — for bipartisan deficit-reduction talks.



Meanwhile, the State Department will hold events Tuesday marking the first time the United States has hosted World Press Freedom Day. On Thursday, the subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee will begin marking up the National Defense Authorization Act.



Monday, May 2


The House and the Senate are in session at 2 p.m.

 First lady Michelle Obama will welcome television host Kelly Ripa and Dean Karnazes, a marathon runner, to the White House in support of a campaign the pair is sponsoring called “Regis and Kelly’s Run Across America with Dean Karnazes.” The campaign has young people participating in community runs to inspire them to “get up, get active and get healthy,” according to the White House. The first lady will welcome participating runners to the White House.



The House Rules Committee meets to discuss bills defunding the healthcare law. The hearing begins at 5 p.m. in Room H-313 of the Capitol.



Tuesday, May 3


A subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing on border security. The Border and Maritime Security subcommittee will hear from officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Border Patrol and sheriffs departments. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Cannon 311.



The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Communications and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on "Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Process Reform." FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and FCC commissioners will testify beginning at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2123.



The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the Justice Department. The hearing begins at 10:15 a.m. in Rayburn 2141.



The House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee holds a hearing on “White House Transparency, Visitor Logs and Lobbyists.” It begins at 10:30 a.m. in Rayburn 2322.



Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and environmental and American Indian leaders will testify on Native American programs before the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies subcommittee. The hearing begins at 1 p.m. in Rayburn B-308.



The House Counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee holds a hearing on "The Threat to the U.S. Homeland Emanating from Pakistan." The hearing begins at 2 p.m. in Cannon 311.



The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on America's natural-disaster preparedness. The hearing begins at 2:30 in Russell 253.



The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) presents the Cano World Press Freedom Prize in a ceremony at the National Press Club at 3:30 p.m. According to the State Department, the prize honors a person or organization for their contribution to press freedom, especially in risky situations.


Biden is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the Atlantic Council Awards Dinner at approximately 7 p.m. The dinner marks the public policy think tank’s 50th anniversary. 



Wednesday May 4


Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) testifies along with other environmental and American Indian leaders in the third in a series of hearings this week on Native American programs. The hearing before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee begins at 9:30 a.m. in Rayburn B-308.



Attorney General Eric Holder will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice.” The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 226.



The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee will hold a meeting on the Labor Department’s 2012 budget estimate. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis testifies. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 124.



The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on "Securing Our Nation's Mass Transit Systems Against a Terrorist Attack," beginning at 10 a.m. in Cannon 311.



The Senate Armed Forces Committee’s subcommittee on Strategic Forces will hold a hearing on implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) beginning at 2:30 p.m. in Russell 232-A. Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command Gen. C. Robert Kehler testifies.



Thursday, May 5


Biden hosts a deficit-reduction meeting at the Blair House with members of Congress. A time and guest list for the meeting have yet to be announced.



The House Education and the Workforce panel will hold a full committee hearing with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifying on the department’s policies and priorities. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2175.



The Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on the use of social media in the aftermath of disasters. Representatives from Google, the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will testify along with Ann Curry of NBC News. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 342.



Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan testifies on legislative proposals in HUD’S 2012 budget before a hearing of the full Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. It begins at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 538.



Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) will speak at 10:30 a.m. at the Heritage Foundation. The speech is the opening event for the think tank’s “Protect America Month” series focusing on defense policy.



Friday, May 6


No events are scheduled in the Senate and no votes are planned in the House.



— Emily Cahn and Emily Goodin contributed to this report.