The Week Ahead: Congress returns from two-week recess

Congress is back from a two-week recess and has a number of contentious issues on the agenda.

The General Services Administration and its spending practices will be on trial before several House and Senate committees. News of a lavish Las Vegas conference held by the agency resulted in the resignations of top officials and a flood of other reports on the agency’s spending, and created a firestorm in Washington.

Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans will have a showdown over their respective tax proposals.

On Monday, Senate Democrats will make a push for President Obama’s “Buffett Rule,” which would ensure that those making more than a million dollars a year pay at least as much as middle-class earners.

And House Republicans will hold a vote later this week on their tax plan, which would provide a 20 percent tax break to companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Meanwhile, Vice President Biden and first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle ObamaMichelle Obama holds fitness 'bootcamps' for friends Obama marks Father’s Day: ‘I'm most proud to be Sasha and Malia's dad’ Obamas invited to be honorary football coach at University of Michigan MORE have several campaign fundraisers scheduled for this week.

Monday April 16

First lady Michelle Obama hosts a fundraiser at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the spending practices of the General Services Administration. GSA Inspector General Brian Miller and former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson are among the witnesses. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. in 2154 Rayburn.

Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump notes 'election meddling by Russia' in tweet criticizing Obama Former Obama advisor calls Fox ‘state sanctioned media’ Biden rips Senate GOP healthcare bill, says it 'isn't about healthcare' MORE will be in Brazil for the third U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue.

Actor Alec Baldwin addresses the National Press Club at 1 p.m.

The House is scheduled to vote on awarding a congressional gold medal to golfer Jack Nicklaus in recognition of his service to the United States in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf.

Tuesday, April 17

President Obama welcomes Tony Stewart and the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to the White House.

Michelle Obama will speak at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Nashville, Tenn. From there, she goes to Pittsburgh, Pa to speak to troops as part of her Joining Forces initiative. After that she will speak at two DNC fundraisers in Pittsburgh.

Vice President Biden speaks at a campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee holds a hearing on the GSA’s spending practices at 8:30 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up a pair of bills designed to serve as platforms for criticism of the administration energy policies. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn.

The Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to complete rules to curb air pollution from oil-and-gas development — including gas wells tapped with the controversial method called hydraulic fracturing.

Wednesday, April 18

President Obama heads to Cleveland, Ohio, to talk about the economy. Then he heads to Michigan for campaign fundraisers.

Vice President Biden and other senior administration officials will host an event at the White House to discuss the need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing on the GSA spending practices at 10 a.m. in 406 Dirksen.

The Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government subcommittee holds a hearing on GSA spending at 2:30 p.m. in 138 Dirksen.

Clinton heads to Brussels, Belgium, for a joint meeting of NATO foreign and defense ministers and then to hold a bilateral meeting with Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders.

Thursday, April 19

President Obama hosts the BCS National Champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide at the White House.

Vice President Biden attends campaign fundraisers in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the House Armed Services Committee about the situation in Syria. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in 2118 Rayburn.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with NATO ministers in Brussels and will participate in a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.

Friday, April 20

President Obama welcomes the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House. 

Vice President Biden attends a campaign fundraiser in Santa Barbara, Calif.

— Ben Geman and Peter Schroeder contributed