WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- This week the continuing saga of the Democratic primaries means that presidential politics is likely to dominate the news agenda again. But there are some issues and events on the homeland and national security issue list that might make the inside pages.
Monday, Patrick Fitch, the director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center at Fort Detrick, Md., will make his first public remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The national biodefense center, which will open shortly, provides a Level 4 laboratory in which research on the most dangerous and contagious diseases can be carried out. The center is likely to be one of the most controversial components of the U.S. biodefense effort, given how secret many of its activities are likely to be.
Defensive research is legal under the international treaties that ban biological weapons, but secrecy can make it tough to reassure observers that research is really defensive.
Also Monday, Ambassador Greg Schulte, the U.S. permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, will address the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Tuesday, the House Armed Services Committee completes its markup of the 2009 defense authorization bill. The subcommittees have generally moved funds away from big futuristic weapons system like ballistic missile defense into current operations and maintenance spending.
The full committee is likely to consider buying American provisions, as many lawmakers are upset about the Air Force's choice of Airbus over Boeing as the supplier for a new aerial refueling tanker.
Also up for consideration this week by the full House and the Senate Appropriations Committee is the $108 billion war spending supplemental appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008. Lawmakers hope to get the bill done before the May 24 recess.
But the bill's progress is likely to be complicated by several factors, including the addition of domestic spending language and the plans of some senators to add policy provisions opposed by the administration.
A preview of the Senate version released last week by Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., includes at least $7 billion more in domestic spending than the House version, and more funding is expected to be added at the markup.
Two homeland security hearings Wednesday might be worth watching. Assistant Secretary for Policy Development Richard Barth will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe about the expansion of the controversial Visa Waiver Program. And the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee holds a confirmation hearing for Paul Schneider, President Bush's pick to replace the long-departed Michael Jackson as deputy secretary of homeland security.
Thursday, James Glassman, the president's nominee as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, appears at the Heritage Foundation for his first public remarks since becoming the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors last June. He is expected to address Afghanistan, Iran, Cuba, Syria, Russia and Tibet.
Friday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Julie Myers continues DHS' drive to promote e-verify with remarks at the American Payroll Association's 2008 Congress in Austin, Texas.