This week: Ryan plants new budget flag

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will lay down a new fiscal marker this week with the release an overhauled budget proposal.

The House Budget Committee chairman is expected to unveil his budget plan sometime early next week, with a committee markup on Wednesday. If all goes according to plan, the full House could vote on the proposal the following week.

While Ryan has become a leading force in the GOP with his sweeping budgets, this year’s version is likely to be a bit more restrained.

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Ryan will have to adhere to the terms of the December deal he struck with his Senate counterpart, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), while meeting GOP priorities. That means he has to work within a 2015 spending cap of $1.014 trillion and find a way to balance the budget in a decade without raising taxes.

Coming up with the right mix is a math challenge but also a political one; Ryan is hoping his plan can garner strong party support without losing defense hawks and centrists.

The Senate on Monday is expected to pass a bill that would provide five months of federal jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. That bill is unlikely to move in the House, given the opposition of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio.).

On Tuesday, the House is expected to put the finishing touches on an aid package for Ukraine by approving legislation that has already passed the Senate.

Off Capitol Hill, the March jobs report due out Friday should help fill in the economic picture for policymakers. Democrats are hoping that a timely economic surge could boost their efforts to hold on to the Senate come November.

Economists expect that employers added 192,000 jobs in March, up from the 175,000 posted in February. The jobless rate is forecast to fall slightly to 6.6 percent from 6.7.

The labor market struggled through December and January as cold weather weighed on economic growth. But payrolls showed signs of life last month, and economists have said they anticipate the pace of growth will accelerate as temperatures rise.

The Senate Budget Committee will discuss economic mobility and inequality on Tuesday, as Democrats continue their push of a populist economic theme this year ahead of the midterm elections.

Also Tuesday, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will continue pushing corporations on their efforts to shrink their tax bill through offshore maneuvers. The panel, led by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), has pressed a number of Swiss banks and Apple on the matter, and Tuesday will give the treatment to machinery giant Caterpillar. Top executives are slated to testify.

A House Financial Services subcommittee is hosting what could be a contentious hearing Wednesday on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to explore claims of discrimination and retaliation at the watchdog.

A CFPB whistleblower, an attorney who claims to have experienced discrimination at the watchdog and retaliation for complaining about it, is expected to testify. But the bureau is refusing to send a pair of top agency officials invited by lawmakers, citing its ongoing investigation. Republicans have long been critical of the agency, and are likely to dig deep into the matter.

On Thursday, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will sit down with the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees to discuss the nation’s trade agenda, including trade promotion authority and two massive trade deals from the Atlantic to Pacific Rim.

Appropriators have another busy stretch next week. In the House, various subcommittees will talk funding needs with the heads of the Treasury Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Park Service and Justice Department, among others.

On Wednesday, the House Small Business Committee will be diving into bitcoin, exploring both the potential and peril of the virtual currency for small businesses.

Vicki Needham contributed.