Week Ahead: Obama Cabinet officials defend budget requests

President Obama’s budget will be a hot topic on Capitol Hill this week as several Cabinet secretaries will testify about their department’s requests.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be among those testifying.

And with the Energy secretary and Interior secretary testifying before various committees, expect gas prices to be a topic of conservation. Republicans have been hammering Obama for not doing enough to lower prices at the pump.

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The Senate is preparing to vote on a cybersecurity bill that would give the Department of Homeland Security authority over companies with computer systems crucial to the nation's economic and physical security.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring the legislation straight to the Senate floor, skipping any committee markups, despite Republican protests to the maneuver.

House Republicans will unveil their JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, which is their economic package, this week. Unlikely to come up in the lower chamber is Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) transportation bill. It was originally scheduled to appear this week, but will likely be pushed back due to concerns from his party about the $260 billion legislation.

Meanwhile, the race for the Republican presidential nomination will be the focus on Tuesday, when Arizona and Michigan hold their nominating contests. Rick Santorum is struggling to keep the momentum he got off three wins earlier this month and Mitt Romney needs to win his home state of Michigan to stave off talk that his campaign is in trouble.


Monday, Feb. 27

President Obama and Vice President Biden host a meeting with the National Governors Association at the White House.

First lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will address the National Governors Association about military spouse employment and what they can do in their own states to improve job portability for military spouses. The speeches begin at 10:45 a.m. at the White House.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will deliver the opening remarks at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials annual Washington Briefing, at 8:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Washington.

It’s International Bundle Up for Polar Bears Day and Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) will hold a briefing about the habitat loss of the bears. It begins at 3 p.m. in 2456 Rayburn.


Tuesday, Feb. 28

Arizona and Michigan hold their GOP nominating contests. Polls close at 8 p.m. ET in Michigan and at 9 p.m. ET in Arizona.

Obama addresses the United Auto Workers conference in Washington.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey will testify before the Senate Budget Committee on the Pentagon’s 2013 budget request. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in 608 Dirksen.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the department’s 2013 budget request. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 192 Dirksen.

She testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 2 p.m. in 216 Hart on the same topic.

Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on the Justice Department’s 2013 budget request. The hearing begins at 9:00 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on his department’s budget request. The hearing begins at 2 p.m. in 2359 Rayburn.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on his department’s 2013 budget request. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 366 Dirksen.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on the housing crisis. The hearing begins at 538 Dirksen.

NASCAR Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., IndyCar Driver JR Hildebrand, Tyler Hilton and WWE’s Kofi Kingston will join the National Guard Youth Foundation (NGYF) at its annual celebration for its Youth ChalleNGe Program. The invitation-only gala will be held at the J.W. Marriott at 5:30 p.m.


Wednesday, Feb. 29

President Obama and Michelle Obama will host a dinner at the White House to honor troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. The Bidens will also attend.

Clinton testifies before the House Appropriations Committee about the State Department’s budget request. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn.

She testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at 2 p.m. in 2172 Rayburn.

Panetta and Dempsey testify before the House Budget Committee at 2 p.m. in 210 Cannon.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. in 2128 Rayburn.

Salazar testifies about Interior’s budget request in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee at 9:30 a.m. in 124 Dirksen.


Thursday, March 1

Obama will be in Nashua, N.H., to talk about the economy and then will head to New York City for campaign fundraisers.

Biden will be at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, to give a speech on manufacturing and American innovation.

Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee at 10 a.m. in 538 Dirksen.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee at 10 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn.

Donovan testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee about his department’s budget request. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in 138 Dirksen.

Chu testifies before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee at 9:30 a.m. in 2318 Rayburn.


Friday, March 2

Obama will visit wounded servicemen at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.


— Brendan Sasso contributed.

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