Weekly Washington Outlook — February 16, 2016

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week:

 Congress:

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House:

The House is in recess this week, returning Tuesday, February 23.

Senate:

The Senate is also in recess, returning Monday, February 22.

White House:

On Tuesday, President Obama will host a summit with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Rancho Mirage, Calif. to continue important conversations about the Asia-Pacific region. Following the conclusion of the summit, the President will return to Washington.

On Wednesday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Thursday, President Obama will welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to the White House to honor the team on their 2015 Stanley Cup victory. This visit will continue the tradition begun by President Obama of honoring sports teams for their efforts to give back to their communities. Afterward, the president and the first lady will host a reception celebrating Black History Month in the East Room.

On Friday, President Obama will meet with Democratic Governors at the White House.

On Sunday, the president will deliver remarks at the National Governors Association Dinner and Reception at the White House. The first lady will also attend.

Also this Week:

Child Nutrition – The Senate may begin consideration of a bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization in the coming weeks.  The legislation would give schools some flexibility to implement nutrition guidelines and would also require districts to increase verification for school meal programs.

Education – Last week, President Obama nominated John King to be the next Secretary of Education. The Senate HELP Committee could schedule a confirmation hearing as soon as next week. John King currently is serving as Acting Secretary and was New York’s Education Commissioner prior to joining the Department of Education. His confirmation will be important to successful implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Puerto Rico – The House Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing for February 25 on Puerto Rico’s financial crisis. Counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Antonio Weiss is scheduled to testify. In addition, Senator Hatch (R-Utah) has said that he is working on revised legislation to assist Puerto Rico, but details are not yet public.

Supreme Court – Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the president is expected to nominate a new justice in the coming days. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already said that he will not confirm the President Obama’s nominee and Republican leadership has made clear they believe the next president should fill the vacancy.