What's really happening in Washington this week.

A political calendar.
April 24 2006 6:28 AM

For One Night, D.C. Is Hollywood

What's really happening in Washington this week.

Monday

Once more, with feeling: Today President Bush tries to revive failing prospects for immigration legislation in Congress. In Irvine, Calif., Bush gives a speech on "Comprehensive Immigration Reform"—a package that goes beyond the solely punitive bill passed by the House and toward what foes call "amnesty" for illegals. From there, Bush flies to Las Vegas, where he hosts a campaign event for Rep. John Porter, R-Nev., who voted for the punishment-only House legislation.

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While the president delivers his mixed messages, the Senate judiciary committee tries again to craft a deal, after a compromise fell apart in the Senate before Easter. Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., assembles his crew at 9:30 Tuesday morning, using the nixed compromise as a starting point.

For more immigration fireworks, head to the Family Research Council Thursday to see two conservative icons, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., argue opposite sides of the issue.

Hide your husband: Embattled House Republican moderates Chris Shays, Nancy Johnson, and Rob Simmons, all from Connecticut, would probably rather contract avian flu than be seen with Bush, who is deeply unpopular in the state of his birth. But the White House needs the moderates to keep a GOP majority in the House. Solution: Send Laura Bush, who is far less polarizing than her husband. The first lady will appear with the three at a reception in Stamford this evening.

Nature loves a vacuum: NASA holds a conference call this afternoon "to announce that black holes have been found to be 'green.' " This may help the space agency with its budget shortfalls.

Tuesday

More fun with Rummy: The Senate meets Tuesday to begin the debate on a $106.5 billion "emergency" spending bill to pay for operations in the war zones of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Gulf Coast. Such supplemental spending bills always pass. The real highlight of the week will be the effort by Senate Democrats to have a no-confidence vote on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Bush has made clear that he won't fire Rumsfeld. But the measure, a nonbinding amendment to the spending bill, increases Rumsfeld's status as the opposition party's favorite demon now that Tom DeLay is leaving Congress.

We won't have Scotty to kick around anymore: White House press secretary Scott McClellan briefs the full press corps for the first time since announcing his resignation last week as part of a White House staff shake-up. His farewell announcement didn't go exactly as planned. After the announcement, he hopped aboard Marine One with Bush, but the helicopter couldn't leave the ground because of an "avionics" problem.

He plans to stay on the job another couple of weeks, but already attention is focusing on his successor—OK, enough with the will-Tony-Snow-get-back-pay jokes—and on who else will be pushed out by new staff chief Josh Bolten.

Wednesday

Good needles, bad needles: The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., hosts a lecture by Harvard Medical School's Bruce Rosen "on the neurobiological correlates of acupuncture."

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, hears arguments about lethal injections in a closely watched capital-punishment case. In the Florida case, Hill v. McDonough, the justices will decide if a condemned man can seek a stay of execution to challenge the chemicals that will be used to kill him.

Thursday

This won't hurt a bit: The House is scheduled on Thursday to rush through its watered-down package of lobbying reforms, the "Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006." Democrats are pushing for unlimited debate on more stringent measures, such as broader restrictions on gifts, travel, and lobbying by former members. Don't count on it. In fact, just before the debate on lobbying reform, the House holds "Former Members Day," another chance to celebrate the many lawmakers who have gone on to lucrative new careers lobbying their former colleagues.

Saturday

Can you get me into the Bloomberg party? Saturday is the biggest social event of the year for political Washington: the Bloomberg after-party. Technically the event, formerly hosted by Vanity Fair, is a mere appendage to the evening's White House Correspondents Association Dinner, an annual black-tie affair attended by President Bush, much of the Cabinet and congressional leadership, and a smattering of Hollywood types. But the real sign of Washington status is whether you can score an invitation to the more exclusive Bloomberg party. The invitation itself—this year's is green ink on thick Lucite—is the Washington equivalent of Willy Wonka's golden ticket. It entitles you to stand in line outside the newly refurbished Macedonian Embassy Saturday night in Kalorama with the rest of the chosen people—and several others hoping to talk their way in.

Dana Milbank writes the Washington Post's Washington Sketch column.

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