This Week in Washington - December 25, 2011

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- DOMESTIC POLICY MATTERS

Although they will not formally adjourn for more than three days in order to foreclose any possibility of recess appointments or pocket vetoes, the House and Senate have returned to their districts for the holiday recess. The House will reconvene on January 17 and the Senate will reconvene on January 23.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Appropriations. On Friday, the President signed the FY 2012 “megabus” appropriations package, as the current short-term continuing resolution (CR) expired at midnight that day. This final package completes the work on FY 2012 appropriations, containing the text of the underlying Military Construction Veterans Affairs bill and eight other spending measures: Defense, Energy-Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch, and State-Foreign Operations. In November, Congress enacted a “minibus” containing the other three spending bills: Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Transportation-Housing....

- FOREIGN POLICY MATTERS

North Korea. Following reports of the death of North Korea’s National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong II, late Sunday, President Obama spoke with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak about the current situation in the Korean Peninsula. On Monday, President Obama similarly spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. Secretary Clinton met Monday with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, with the primary topic of discussion focused on Kim Jong II’s death and the Six Party Talks. The Secretary also welcomed the Foreign Minister’s news that he intends to visit Burma soon, saying there exists “real opportunity through sustained diplomacy to test the new government and to overcome the obstacles in the way to Burma achieving its rightful place in the community of nations......

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