Ex-Im Bank tops Senate’s slate

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That bill will likely provoke an amendment battle as Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) plans to push to include a five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which also expires at the end of the month.
 
Adding to the crowded Senate floor will be a bill authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to increase fees to cover its costs.
 
All of these initiatives have been the subject of lobbying campaigns: the Ex-Im Bank pits the Chamber of Commerce against the Club for Growth, and the NFIP is being pushed by a coalition of insurers, real estate agents and environmentalists.
 
In the House, lawmakers will spend a portion of the week debating the National Defense Authorization Act, which was cleared by the House Armed Services Committee Thursday. The bill would allocate $554 billion for the base Pentagon budget, an increase of $3.1 billion from the president’s request.
 
The bill provides a 1.7 percent pay increase for troops, restores funding for programs the Pentagon had wanted to cut, including the Global Hawk Block 30 drone, and imposes cuts to the Air National Guard. The bill also includes a new East Coast missile defense site and a ban on same-sex marriage ceremonies on military bases — provisions that were criticized by Democrats during committee markup Thursday.
 
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and House Ways and Means subcommittee on Trade Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) will join Colombia Ambassador Gabriel Silva to mark the implementation of the free-trade agreement between the two nations at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on Tuesday.
 
The House Financial Services Committee will explore some major topics in financial regulation this week.
 
On Wednesday, a subcommittee will discuss how regulators plan to treat major financial institutions that garner the designation “systemically significant,” and the heightened oversight that comes with it. On Thursday, the full committee will hold a hearing on the settlement policies of financial regulators, which have come under bipartisan skepticism for allowing those under investigation to settle charges without admitting guilt.
 
Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Committee will tackle a piece of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, marking up a trio of bills that would tweak or roll back portions of the overhaul pertaining to financial derivatives.
 
That panel will also be continuing its work on the 2012 farm bill next week, holding two hearings on Thursday and Friday to discuss various components.
 
The Senate Finance Committee will spend Tuesday continuing the long-running tax reform debate, looking at the issue through the lens of Native American tribes. On Thursday, lawmakers on the panel will discuss the effectiveness of the Social Security Administration.
 
Senate appropriators on Tuesday will be marking up spending bills for military construction and veteran affairs, as well as for the Department of Homeland Security. On Wednesday, they will be discussing the fiscal 2013 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), alongside another subcommittee hearing devoted to defense spending.
 
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its latest policy meeting, when Fed officials decided to stick with their current policy of near-zero interest rates through the end of 2014.


Bernie Becker, Jeremy Herb and Vicki Needham contributed.