The Week Ahead: Clock ticks for deficit panel, government funding

It’s the last full week of negotiations for the supercommittee, while Congress must pass a continuing resolution to fund the government by Friday or there could be a shutdown.

The supercommittee has no public events scheduled, but small groups are expected to meet privately.

And the first “minibus” spending package is due out of a conference committee on Monday, in order to allow the House and Senate to vote on it by the end of the week. It includes a CR that would keep the government operating through mid-December and is likely to pass.

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Meanwhile, the Senate will also start working on a second minibus, which contains funding for the State Department, financial regulators, the Department of Energy and water projects.

The House will move quickly this week to pass a bill that will eliminate the 3 percent withholding tax to government contractors and boost unemployment services for veterans. The Senate passed the bill last week, and it represents a bipartisan agreement between House Republican and Senate Democratic leaders.

Expect fireworks at Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey will testify about the future of Iraq, but the hearing was called at the request of ranking Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who opposes President Obama’s decision to remove all U.S. troops by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Obama is set to leave for Australia on Wednesday.


Monday, Nov. 14

The Supreme Court will announce the legal challenges to the healthcare law it will take up next year. The high court has been asked to examine multiple court cases and a slew of issues, including several pertaining to the law’s requirement that everyone carry insurance starting in 2014.

First lady Michelle Obama will meet military families and speak at a hiring fair sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for servicemen and -women, veterans and military families on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation director Rick Gilfillan hold a press conference about healthcare innovation under the Affordable Care Act. It begins at 1:15 p.m. at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Motion Picture Association of America and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation host a discussion on "The Great Communicator — Ronald Reagan from Hollywood to the White House," as part of the celebration for the centennial anniversary of Reagan's birth. Speakers include MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd, ABC News’s Sam Donaldson, former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein, and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. It begins at the MPAA’s D.C. office at 9 a.m.


Tuesday, Nov. 15

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the situation in Iraq. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in 216 Hart.

Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf testifies before the Senate Budget Committee at 10 a.m. in 608 Dirksen.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing on gun laws. It begins at 2:30 p.m. in 226 Dirksen.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to Manila, Philippines, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.


Wednesday, Nov. 16

President Obama heads to Australia for a two-day trip. He will address Australia’s Parliament and visit the city of Darwin.

Clinton heads to Bangkok to support recovery efforts from the flood and to discuss shared interests and regional issues in advance of the East Asia Summit.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar testifies before the House Natural Resources Committee on “The Future of U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Development on Federal Lands and Waters." It begins at 10 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) will hold a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony to honor astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin.

Meryl Streep speaks at the National Women's History Museum awards ceremony, the "Christine de Pizan Honors Gala." It begins at 6 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building.


Thursday, Nov. 17

Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the Solyndra investigation. It begins at 9 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn.

Clinton heads to Bali, Indonesia, for the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting.


Friday, Nov. 18

Congress must pass a continuing resolution to fund the government by midnight or else face a shutdown.

— John T. Bennett, Pete Kasperowicz, Julian Pecquet and Peter Schroeder contributed.