Executive and Legislative Branch Activity

Iran

As of last Friday, January 10, the bipartisan Senate bill (S. 1881) to increase sanctions on Iran had reportedly garnered a filibuster-proof majority – at least 60 Members supporting it.  While speculation is high as to when the bill will come to the Senate floor, many expect the bill will not advance to the floor until after the State of the Union address (Tuesday, January 28).  The White House has said President Barack Obama will veto the bill.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the White House announced the P5+1 had reached an accord that would temporarily freeze much of Iran’s nuclear program.  The accord will go into effect next Monday, January 20.

Trade

Last Thursday, January 9, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) joined House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) in introducing the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014.  The bill provides the President with trade promotion authority (TPA) that is subject to a variety of new conditions on exercising the authority.  Most notably, as reflected in the summary of the bill, the President for the first time must address alleged currency manipulation and the potential impact of trade by state-owned enterprises (SOEs).  This Thursday, January 16, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on advancing Congress’ trade agenda and the role of TPA.

Syria

This Wednesday, January 15, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a closed door hearing on the situations in Syria and Iraq.

Budget

Lawmakers have until this Wednesday, January 15, to pass a spending bill and to avert another government shut down.  Last Friday, January 10, House Appropriations Chair Harold Rogers (R-KY) filed a “clean” three-day continuing resolution to keep the federal government open through January 18.  If passed by Congress by Wednesday, Congress will have until this Saturday, January 18, to pass the $1.012 trillion omnibus measure that would fund the government for the remainder of FY 2014.  The omnibus text is expected to be released today.  Congress will be in recess next week in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, January 14: The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces will hold a joint hearing titled, “Maritime Sovereignty in the East and South China Seas.”
  • Wednesday, January 15: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Hearing: South Sudan’s Broken Promise?”
  • Wednesday, January 15: The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Global Health will hold a hearing titled, “A Report on the G-8 Dementia Summit.”
  • Wednesday, January 15: The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will hold a hearing titled, “NAFTA at Twenty: Accomplishments, Challenges, and the Way Forward.”
  • Wednesday, January 15: The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a closed hearing on the situation in Syria and Iraq.
  • Wednesday, January 15: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a business meeting to review a bill, S____, Support for United States-Republic of Korea Civil Nuclear Cooperation Act, and the following nominations: (1) Cynthia Akuetteh to be U.S. Ambassador to Gabon and to Sao Tome and Principe; (2) Catherine Ann Novelli to be Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy & Environment; (3) The Honorable Tina Kaidanow to be Coordinator for Counterterrorism; (4) The Honorable Michael Hammer to be U.S. Ambassador to Chile; (5) Kevin Whitaker to be U.S. Ambassador to Colombia; (6) The Honorable Carolyn Hessler-Radelet to be Director of the Peace Corps; (7) Michael Carroll to be Inspector General, United States Agency for International Development; (8) The Honorable Daniel Yohannes to be the U.S. Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; (9) Dr. Sarah Sewall to be Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights; (10) Mark Lopes to be U.S. Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank; (11) The Honorable Helen Meagher La Lime to be U.S. Ambassador to Angola; (12) Larry Edward Andre to be U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania; (13) Eric Schultz to be U.S. Ambassador to Zambia; (14) Puneet Talwar to be an Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs; (15) The Honorable Carlos Roberto Moreno to be U.S. Ambassador to Belize; (16) The Honorable Rose Eilene Gottemoeller to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; (17) Frank Rose to be Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance; (18) Adam Scheinman to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the Rank of Ambassador; (19) Timothy Broas to be U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands; (20) Donald Lu to be U.S. Ambassador to Albania; (21) Robert Sherman to be U.S. Ambassador to Portugal; (22) Karen Clark Stanton to be U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste; (23) Amy Jane Hyatt to be U.S. Ambassador to Palau; (24) Tomasz Malinowski to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; (25) Crystal Nix-Hines to be the U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; (26) John Hoover to be U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone; (27) Thomas Daughton to be U.S. Ambassador to Namibia; (28) Dwight Bush, Sr., to be U.S. Ambassador to Morocco; (29) Matthew Harrington to be U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho; (30) The Honorable Janet Yellen to be U.S. Alternative Governor to the IMF; and (31) The Honorable Charles Rivkin to be Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs.  After the business meeting agenda concludes, the committee will then convene a hearing titled, “Implications of the Crisis in Ukraine.”
  • Thursday, 16 January: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for the following individuals to be U.S. Ambassadors: (1) Robert Barber (Iceland); (2) George James Tsunis (Norway); and Colleen Bradley Bell (Hungary).
  • Thursday, 16 January: The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Advancing Congress’s Trade Agenda, The Role of Trade Negotiating Authority.”
  • Thursday, 16 January: The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Emerging Threats will hold a hearing titled, “Water as a Geopolitical Threat.”
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