Listening In. Congress could wrap up a surveillance bill if all goes well this week. The bill would roughly legalize a secret wiretap program that let feds listen in on foreign phone calls, while at the same time adding a bit of oversight from the courts and Congress and, possibly, giving telecoms immunity from lawsuits over the earlier, illegal, program. With a temporary bill expiring on Friday, Congress will try to get its ducks in line this week, but could buy itself more time by extending the current bill. Standing in its way are disagreements over whether to okay immunity and how much oversight to give the courts and Congress.
Energy Dance. The House may put in for a little energy showmanship this week, voting on a package that would extend and boost tax incentives for green energy, to be paid for in part by rollbacks on tax breaks for big oil. If it's similar to a bill passed last year, it's almost certain not to survive a Senate vote. House leaders could, however, opt to shave down that package to make a bill that's not DOA.
Medicare Miasma. DC has to do something about Medicare – but no one's sure quite what. A provision in the 2003 Medicare Drug law put in a "trigger" for the president and Congress to take action once Medicare spending passed a budgetary line. Some think the president needs to send Congress a bill this week – others aren't quite sure. CitizenJoe is confident they'll figure something out… unless they don't.