Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

Liberal Dems raise eyebrow on Kagan nomination; Fattah move puts seniority rule in question

What Washington Will Be Talking About Next Week

The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, May 18, titled Initiatives to Promote Small Business Lending, Jobs and Economic Growth. Chairman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) says that the resulting bill, which he plans to mark up immediately after the hearing, will make “a pile of money” available to community banks, some of which have had capital issues, for the specific purpose of lending to small businesses. It is a big Obama administration initiative that is similar to the program to use TARP funds for community bank lending but a different funding source, Frank said.

May 18 also is Super Senate Tuesday and most political observers will be watching and engaging in obstreperous debate over primary races in 10 states. Voters’ choices will be used as a barometer for November and could also provide insights on whether 2010 will be the year of the anti-incumbent or anti-Democrat.

In some races, prominent incumbents like Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who switched last year from Republican to Democrat, are fighting for their political lives. These and other states also will have competitive state and local races this year, have significant minority populations who can play an important role in their outcomes on Tuesday and again in November.

The House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on racial profiling and the use of Suspect Classifications in law enforcement policy on May 19.

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