Washington Week In Preview

Gas Attack

What’s really happening in Washington this week.


Gasbags: The Energy Department releases its weekly report on retail gasoline prices this afternoon, fueling another week of finger-pointing. Republicans will spend the week offering Americans $100 each if they agree to oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Democrats will spend their time pushing for windfall taxes and other measures to punish oil companies. It’s not likely that any significant gas-price legislation will pass, and it’s even less likely that such legislation, if passed, would have any effect on gas prices.

In more realistic legislative activity, the Senate takes up its health-care agenda: medical malpractice and health plans for small businesses. The House, which tries again on Wednesday to pass lobbying reform, then moves on to port security and a bid to extend tax cuts. Congressional Republicans, for once, have coordinated their activities with President Bush, who will give a health-care speech today and a tax speech Wednesday.

Mayday! Immigrant groups, having demonstrated their political clout in April with nationwide rallies opposed to a crackdown on illegal immigrants, prepare to squander their newfound power with a May Day strike and boycott. Some immigrant groups are pushing for “a day without immigrants,” in which immigrants walk off the job and don’t patronize businesses. But other groups, fearing a backlash, oppose the plan.

Obamarama: After a cautious start in Washington, celebrity Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., continues his coming out. After last week’s joint appearances with George Clooney, the Illionois Democrat speaks on energy and climate change at Georgetown University this evening.


Will This Byrd Fly? The Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on the “line item rescission authority,” which President Bush is seeking so that he can cut lawmakers’ pet projects out of spending bills. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., is scheduled to testify against the plan, which he calls a surrender of congressional authority.

Rudy to the Rescue: Senate Republicans, growing increasingly anxious about the November midterm elections, bring in America’s Mayor to speak at a fundraiser in Washington. The day before, Giuliani plans to be in Iowa, helping Jim Nussle’s GOP gubernatorial campaign and his own presidential prospects.


Why They Hate Us, Cont’d.: Pollster Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press gives a breakfast talk this morning about his new book, America Against the World. The previous evening, Gallup will deliver a similar message when it holds a discussion at Georgetown about a poll it did in the Muslim world. If that’s not sufficiently depressing, the National Geographic Society releases a new survey Tuesday saying America’s young are poorly prepared for a “global future.”


What If They Don’t Get Fox News in Kazakhstan? Vice President Cheney heads off on a trip to unsecure disclosed locations: Lithuania, Kazakhstan, and Croatia. Croatia, in particular, offers a large number of possible subjects that would interest the vice president: lowland deer, bear, chamois, lynx, hare, fox, and waterfowl.


Please, No More “C Student” Jokes: President Bush goes to Stillwater to deliver the commencement address at Oklahoma State University. While Bush addresses the Cowboys in Boone Pickens Stadium, a woman who would like to succeed Bush, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks to the graduating Bengals of Buffalo State College. Clinton, giving the “keynote address,” has top billing over the senior senator from New York, Democrat Chuck Schumer, who will merely be giving an “address.”