Washington Daybook: Lew’s Hearing

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Jack Lew, U.S. treasury secretary nominee and White House chief of staff, sits in the office of Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, in Washington, on Jan. 23, 2013.

President Obama heads to Arden, North Carolina, today to further his calls for raising the federal minimum wage and taking other steps to bolster the middle class in his State of the Union address.

The president used last night’s speech to stake out his vision for an expanded government role in addressing economic inequality, a central theme of his re-election campaign and his inaugural address. Republicans in Washington will today describe their skepticism in detail.  House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will give their reactions to Obama’s speech at a media availability immediately after a Republican Conference meeting.

Obama and congressional Republicans remain at an impasse in negotiations to head off $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to begin taking effect on March 1.

The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the consequences of sequestration on defense, while the House Budget Committee hears from Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf and the Senate Budget Committee looks at the effects of budget decisions on communities.

The Senate Finance Committee hears Jack Lew, Obama’s nominee as Treasury secretary, at a confirmation hearing today. The House Financial Services Committee meets to discuss a November report to Congress that revealed the Federal Housing Administration may need taxpayer bailout. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a news conference to urge confirmation of Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank will gives update on Obama’s cybersecurity policies, while Education Secretary Arne Duncan outlines the administration’s second-term agenda for higher education at Rural Community College Day.

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