By Peter Schroeder - 02/03/14 05:30 AM EST
Debt-limit drama will officially hit Capitol Hill on Friday when the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit is hit.
The limit was suspended until Feb. 7 under the deal to end the recent government shutdown. After Friday, Treasury says its “extraordinary measures” to move money around and avoid a missed payment will last until the end of the month.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has pressed Congress for urgent action, and will again weigh in on the matter Monday with remarks at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Republicans are insisting on some policy concessions for hiking the ceiling, while Democrats and the White House insist they will not negotiate.
The Congressional Budget Office will give its annual update to the economic and budget outlook this week, providing a fresh picture of the nation’s fiscal health and deficits. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf will break down the numbers with the House Budget Committee on Wednesday. The Senate Budget Committee will discuss the 2014 outlook with several economists on Tuesday.
Hard data on 2014 will be provided Friday with the jobs report for January. The report will be closely watched after December’s data came up well short of the mark.
Several congressional panels will be digging into the recent data breaches suffered by major retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus, where billions of customers’ private financial information was stolen.
A Senate Banking subcommittee on Monday will hear testimony from regulators and industry advocates representing banks and retailers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will follow suit Tuesday, hearing directly from executives of the targeted companies, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee will do the same on Wednesday.
Top financial regulators will be making the rounds at the Capitol next week, providing an update on the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will testify Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee, a well as a top regulatory officials from the Federal Reserve. A Treasury Department official will then join that group on Thursday as they hit many of the same notes before the Senate Banking Committee.
On the tax front, a Ways and Means subcommittee will welcome the new head of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen. He’ll be called to testify Wednesday on a host of issues facing the beleaguered agency, including an update on its efforts to police political tax-exempt groups.
On Thursday, a House Oversight subcommittee will continue to poke at the investigation into IRS wrongdoing surrounding conservative groups.
The panel had wanted to question a Justice Department lawyer who had given to Obama and Democratic causes. Republicans argued such leanings tainted the probe, which has yet to lead to any charges.
But the Justice Department is refusing to allow her to testify, citing the ongoing investigation. That is not deterring Republican committee members, however, who vow the hearing will go on regardless.
On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to advance the nomination of Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to be the U.S. ambassador to China. Baucus is not expected to face any major opposition to his nomination.
The Senate Homeland Security Committee gets back to work on its bipartisan postal reform bill on Thursday. The panel cut off a markup this week, in part because senators wanted changes to two proposed amendments — including one from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would loosen gun restrictions in post offices.
The measure from Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has faced deep skepticism from both outside groups and fellow senators.