This week: Spending, budget top congressional agenda as shutdown nears

Elsewhere, lawmakers will be tackling a number of other economic issues, ranging from housing to future spending on various government agencies.

House Republicans will continue their push to overhaul government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. On Tuesday, a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee will mark up, and presumably pass, eight bills that would change various GSE operations — including how much top Fannie and Freddie executives can be paid and the types of mortgages the agencies can guarantee.

The committee will follow up that effort with a hearing Wednesday on legislation that would remake the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was a hot point of debate during the fight over financial reform, and Republicans are now looking for ways to remake the bureau before it goes into action in July.

Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) is proposing a bipartisan commission, as opposed to a single director, head the agency, and more GOP bills to change the CFPB are likely in the works.

That same day, the Joint Tax Committee will go back in time to talk tax reform, hearing from individuals who played a key role in the last major overhaul in 1986. The committee will hear from James Baker, President Reagan’s Treasury secretary at the time, and former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).

Top administration officials will head to Capitol Hill to discuss their various agencies with congressional appropriators.

On Thursday, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will appear before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. That same day, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will appear before a separate subcommittee, as will Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On the House side, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice will appear before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday to discuss funds for the U.S.’s international organizations.

The Senate Banking Committee will explore a pair of topics Wednesday: the role of accountants in preventing another financial crisis and the perks and pitfalls facing community banks.

On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee will explore potentially duplicative programs in the federal government, particularly regarding welfare and other programs focused on low-income families. The panel will then hold its third hearing on pending trade agreements Thursday, this time discussing a deal with South Korea.

Along similar lines, the House Small Business Committee has set a Wednesday hearing to discuss how free-trade agreements could boost small businesses and create jobs.

The Federal Reserve will release the minutes from the March 15 meeting of its Federal Open Market Committee on Tuesday.

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