The Week Ahead: High court takes up Obama healthcare reform law

Healthcare will be the main topic of the week as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on President Obama’s signature legislation.

Six hours of oral arguments will be heard on Monday and Tuesday but no decision from the court is expected until June.

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Obama, meanwhile, will be in South Korea while the arguments are made, attending the Nuclear Security Summit and implementing the free-trade agreement.

Transportation will be another hot topic as there could be a price break at the gas pump if Congress doesn’t extend the gas tax by its March 31 expiration date. The Senate has passed a two-year transportation bill, which deals with the gas tax issue, but the House is pushing for a short-term measure.

And the lower chamber is expected to vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan (along with several alternatives) on Thursday.


Monday, March 26

President Obama is in Seoul, South Korea, for the Nuclear Security Summit and to implement the free-trade agreement.

In the morning, he will speak to students at Hankuk University on his efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Later in the day he will meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, and Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev.  In the evening, he will attend a Nuclear Security Summit working dinner.

First lady Michelle Obama will welcome school children from across the country to the White House for the fourth annual White House Kitchen Garden spring planting. The event begins at 2:15 p.m.

The Senate is expected to vote on Democrat-backed legislation to eliminate billions of dollars in tax breaks for the largest oil companies. The measure is unlikely to garner the 60 votes necessary to move forward.

The Federal Trade Commission will release its long-awaited framework for protecting consumers' privacy online.


Tuesday, March 27

President Obama will attend the Nuclear Security Summit and will meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after the summit. He leaves Seoul in the evening and will arrive back in Washington on Tuesday evening, due to the time difference.

Mitt Romney appears on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” The show airs on NBC at 11:35 p.m. EDT.

Michelle Obama will participate in the 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Centennial Tree Planting Ceremony at 11:15 a.m. She will be joined by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki and local school children.

At noon the first lady will meet with the spouses of the military's senior enlisted leaders to discuss her Joining Forces initiative.

The House is expected to sign off on the Senate-approved version of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. Obama is expected to sign the legislation.

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) will unveil the Republican Study Committee’s 2013 budget proposal. The event takes place at 11:15 a.m. in HVC-Studio A at the Capitol.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on the international programs for his department. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 2358-A Rayburn.

The Joint Economic Committee will be talking about the Federal Reserve at its 2 p.m. hearing in 216 Hart.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual summit on capital markets. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) will be the Capitol Hill contingent to appear before the group. Richard Cordray, the appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will represent the regulators.


Wednesday, March 28

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to discuss the special counsel's report on the Justice Department’s role in the prosecution of the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 226 Dirksen.

Geithner testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the 2013 budget request for his department. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn.


Thursday, March 29

The House is expected to vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) 2013 budget proposal and on alternative budget proposals from the Republican Study Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks to the George Washington University School of Business on the role of the Fed at 12:45 p.m.

Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) join the Congressional Federal Credit Union at a press conference to raise awareness about its Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, which benefits hospitalized children. The event begins at 10 a.m. in 2103 Rayburn.


Friday, March 30

President Obama will attend campaign fundraisers in Burlington, Vt., and Portland, Maine.


— Sam Baker, Julian Pecquet, Andrew Restuccia, Brendan Sasso, and Peter Schroeder contributed.