The Week Ahead: Under pressure over debt and Libya

Deadlines will be looming over lawmakers’ heads this week as they continue debt-limit talks as well as debate whether to continue supporting the mission in Libya.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) plans to introduce an amendment, likely attached to a Defense appropriations bill, that would cut off funding for the U.S. military operation in Libya. He was the lead lawmaker in a lawsuit filed last week arguing that President Obama had violated the 1973 War Powers Act by committing troops without congressional authorization.

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And Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said last week that the president would be in violation of the War Powers Resolution as of Sunday without congressional authorization for the use of U.S. troops.

Obama sent a 32-page letter to Congress last week detailing the constitutionality of the mission, saying it is “limited” and there are “no boots on the ground.” Because of the operation's limited nature, the administration argues, it is not subject to the 90-day requirement for congressional approval.

The topic dominated Capitol Hill last week and could do so again this week.

Meanwhile, the negotiations between lawmakers and Vice President Biden continue — at least three meetings are set for this week. Participants say progress is being made, but questions remain as to whether lawmakers can craft a package that can gain bipartisan support. The Treasury Department said it can hold off the U.S. defaulting on its debt until Aug. 2. Both sides have said they’d like to have the issue resolved before Congress leaves for its July 4 recess.

Multiple department heads — current and future — will appear on Capitol Hill this week. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday to discuss developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will testify before the House Small Business Committee on "The State of Small Business Access to Capital and Credit." 

The Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of Leon Panetta to be Defense secretary at some point during the week, possibly on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, John Bryson will testify before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on his nomination as Commerce secretary, and on Thursday, Gen. David Petraeus will appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on his nomination as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

On Friday, Obama will make another economic policy speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He will also attend a fundraiser in New York City on Thursday.

First lady Michelle Obama will be on an official visit to Africa from June 20 to 26, with stops in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town in South Africa and Gaborone, Botswana, focusing on her signature issues of youth leadership, education, health and wellness.

Monday, June 20

Senate meets at 2 p.m. for morning business until 5 p.m, while the House meets at 10 a.m. in a pro forma session. No votes are scheduled.

First lady Michelle Obama will arrive at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria, South Africa, to begin her six-day trip there.

Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) will host the invitation-only reception for HRH Prince Edward, who will be in Washington for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Tuesday, June 21

John Bryson will testify before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on his nomination to head the Department of Commerce. Terry Garcia will also testify on his nomination to be deputy Commerce secretary. The hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m. in 253 Russell.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Anne Patterson to be ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt; Michael Corbin to be ambassador to the United Arab Emirates; and Matthew Tueller to be ambassador to the State of Kuwait. The nominees will testify. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 419 Dirksen.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host the 2011 World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony at the Department of State. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats will also speak at the event.

The first lady will travel to Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, to meet with South African President Jacob Zuma’s wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma. She will also attend a reception with South African leaders organized by the U.S. Embassy.

She will then travel to the Johannesburg to visit the Nelson Mandela Foundation and meet with Graca Machel, a former first lady of Mozambique and wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Later in the day, she will tour the Apartheid Museum.

Wednesday, June 22

Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner will testify before the House Small Business Committee on "The State of Small Business Access to Capital and Credit.” The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 2360 Rayburn.

The Federal Open Market Committee holds a meeting, which will be followed by a press conference from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke — the second of its kind.

President Obama will meet with Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders at the White House.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Guatemala City, Guatemala, to participate in the International Conference of Support for the Central American Security Strategy. Central American heads of state and international partners will attend the conference. Clinton will also visit Montego Bay, Jamaica, to meet with her Caribbean counterparts to discuss joint security, environmental and economic issues.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Reforming FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Process.” Witnesses are yet to be announced. The hearing will begin at 10:30 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn.

The first lady will travel to the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, Johannesburg, where she will deliver the keynote address to a U.S.-sponsored Young African Women Leaders Forum. She will also visit the Hector Pieterson Memorial, which is dedicated to a 12-year-old boy who protested apartheid in South Africa. Obama will complete her visit to Johannesburg by leading a group of participants in the Young African Women Leaders forum in a service project at a community center.

Thursday, June 23

Clinton will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on "Evaluating Goals and Progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan." The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 106 Dirksen.

Gen. David Petraeus will testify before the Senate Select  Committee on Intelligence on his nomination to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m. in 216 Hart.

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf will testify before the House Budget Committee on the "Congressional Budget Office's Long-Term Budget Outlook." The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 210 Cannon.

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on "Health Care Entitlements: The Road Forward," focusing on what role, if any, Medicare and Medicaid should play in the deficit-reduction effort. Witnesses are yet to be announced. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 215 Dirksen.

President Obama will travel to New York City for fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee.

Michelle Obama will be in Cape Town, South Africa, where she will visit the U.S. Consulate and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Later in the day, she will speak to students at the University of Cape Town. To top off her visit to Cape Town, she will visit the Cape Town Soccer Stadium, a site of the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, where she will meet with organizations dedicating to combating HIV/AIDS in South Africa. She will also join local children on the soccer field for activities and drills.

Friday, June 24

President Obama will travel to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to discuss the importance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy, as well as how the public, private and academic sectors can spur job creation and global competitiveness.

The first lady will travel to the Botswana Baylor Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence’s Teen Club, an organization dedicated to educating teens about HIV/AIDS, where she will participate in a service project with the organization’s members, in Gaborone, Botswana. Later in the day, she will meet with Ian Khama, the president of Botswana.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairwoman Sheila Bair will address a National Press Club luncheon at 1 p.m.


—Peter Schroeder contributed.