Washington Weekly
May. 5, 2014

Last Week

The House cleared a pair of appropriations bills to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs, Military Construction, and health care programs, as well as Legislative branch appropriations. After failing to achieve the 60 votes needed to advance minimum wage legislation, the Senate approved almost two dozen judicial nominees.More

This Week

The Senate expects to have a number of battles on its hands over nominations and energy policy. After years of an unrelenting push, there are reports that a vote will occur on the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senate Majority Leader is said to be allowing the vote to occur as the Senate takes up a bipartisan energy efficiency bill. In addition, the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services will face her first of two committees this week; the nominee must go before the Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee as well as Senate Finance, which has yet to be scheduled. The House is making preparations for a pair of controversial votes for this Friday (1) to call on the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor with regard to the IRS and (2) a vote of contempt for Lois Lerner regarding her role in the IRS scandal. The House will also vote this week on the Success and Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Act. Proponents say the bill would modernize charter schools by consolidating two federal programs into one and permit states more flexibility to allocate federal funds.More

Item of Interest

If your senators have not heard from you (and more importantly, your employees) about the Keystone pipeline, now is the time to contact them. Backers of the current bill, which calls for approval of the pipeline, say they have 56 sponsors and are working behind the scenes to find the four additional lawmakers they'll need to get it to the floor. The bill has the backing of the GOP conference, as well as Democrats facing election in conservative states, including Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Be on the lookout this week for opportunities to contact your Senators.More

May Primaries to Test GOP Establishment Clout
The month of May will go a long way toward answering one of the overriding questions of Election 2014: Can the Republican establishment finally tame the tea party and retake the Senate? More

Beware of the Surprise House Primary Losers
Roll Call
Rep. Mike Simpson looks like he’ll survive the epic establishment vs. anti-establishment struggle in the GOP primary in Idaho's 1st District. But if last cycle is any indication, the incumbents that lose primaries this year will be in low-profile races rather than high profile battles between outside groups.More

Lies, Damned Lies and Bogus Statistics
Paul Krugman is half right. The New York Times columnist and Princeton University economics professor, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2008, published another strong condemnation Monday of House Republicans — this one justifiably calling their Affordable Care Act report "deliberately misleading."More