Washington Weekly
Mar. 24, 2014

Last Week

The House and Senate were in recess. More

This Week

The House and Senate will try to reconcile divergent approaches to the Ukraine-Russia crisis by effectively bolstering Ukraine and sufficiently condemning Russia. The Senate plans to begin voting Monday evening on legislation that packages aid to Ukraine with the approval of reforms by the International Monetary Fund sought by the Obama administration. But the House could vote by the end of the week on its own legislation that does not include the IMF provision, which House Republicans do not want tied to the Ukraine crisis. In addition, both houses will receive testimony from agency heads as the FY 2015 budget continues to take shape with an April 15 deadline beginning to loom. The House is also expected to pass another short-term patch ("doc-fix") to avoid cuts to the Sustainable Growth Rate; they must act before March 31 to avoid an automatic cut to the payments. More

Item of Interest

Would increasing American natural gas exports benefit your business? With the ongoing crisis in Ukraine escalating, advocates, such as the Speaker of the House, have been saying we need to increase our exports and now is the best opportunity to do so. Advocates of exporting natural gas are ready to make their case before Congress that surging U.S. gas production should open the door for exports that help Europe ease reliance on Russian energy. On Tuesday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will have a hearing on the topic. On Wednesday the House Foreign Affairs Committee will have a hearing on the "Geopolitical Potential of the U.S. Energy Boom."More

Three Ways the Supreme Court Could Rule on Contraception
The legal battle over Obamacare's contraception mandate is essentially tied as it heads into Tuesday's Supreme Court arguments. Both sides have suffered some bad losses in lower courts, and the weaknesses that hurt them before could spell trouble again on Tuesday.More

Cantor: House Budget Will Conform to 'Spending Limits'
Roll Call
Majority Leader Eric Cantor is telling House Republicans they will produce a budget that adheres to spending limits and balances the budget in 10 years. "We owe it to the American people to demonstrate how we will allocate their tax dollars and balance the budget," Cantor wrote Friday to House Republicans. The Virginia Republican noted that President Barack Obama's budget "blows past" the spending caps previously agreed to for fiscal 2015, but the the House GOP's budget will conform to the agreed upon "spending limits."More

With Clock Ticking, a Busy Week at White House
The Hill
The Obama administration will be focusing on direct appeals to young people and mothers during the final week before a March 31 Obamacare enrollment deadline. A senior administration official said President Obama will take part in the campaign during his trip overseas, along with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Cabinet members, who will participate in events, radio interviews and outreach efforts with websites that reach young adults.More