Pyrotechnics erupt on the congressional horizon this week, as both chambers convene today for a week’s business prior to a Friday departure for the Fourth of July recess. The Senate takes up the Employee Free Choice Act and immigration, while the House considers more appropriations. Flash, crack and boom!
A Senate cloture vote on H.R. 800, the card-check bill , is scheduled after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. What a dud. Still, supporters of the secret ballot in the workplace should take nothing for granted; big labor certainly isn’t. To view a video “call to action” from NAM President John Engler or to contact your Senators urging them to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act, please click here.
Then it’s on to debate and a cloture vote on S. 1639, the immigration reform bill.
We’re watching the employment verification and worker visa provisions.
At 10 a.m. Thursday, the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on global warming and the power plant sector. Representing the industry are Jim Rogers of Duke Energy; Peter Darbee of PG&E, Lewis Hay of the FPL Group. Sticking up for coal will be Bob Murray of the Murray Energy Corp. Details here.
In the House, after the usual mixture of Monday mundanities considered on suspension — what, there’s no official National Pet Week already? — representatives will turn Tuesday to H.R. 2364, Interior and Environment appropriations (summary here), and H.R. 2829, the Financial Services appropriations.
Energy-related action occurs Wednesday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which starts marking up six drafts of legislative language. Convenes 10 a.m. in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. National Journal is reporting that Chairman Dingell wants to punt several contentious issues — incentives for coal-based liquids, fuel efficiency standards, etc. — until the fall’s global warming discussions.
NAM President John Engler heads over to Crystal City on Wednesday to speak at the National Council For Advanced Manufacturing’s annual conference.
The trade winds are blowing — in the right direction? The President’s trade promotion authority expires Saturday, June 30th, but beforehand the Administration will sign free trade agreements with Panama (June 28th) and South Korea (June 30th).
President Bush welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin to Kennebunkport on Sunday, July 1. Putin’s visit will disrupt the Sanford Regional Airport’s annual open house.
Across the pond, Tony Blair steps down Wednesday as prime minister of the U.K., and Gordon Brown takes over. Pegasus protocol will be followed.
And in non-political world, crowds will throng The Mall starting Wednesday, taking in the scene at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Northern Ireland, the Mekong Delta and Virginia’s history and culture are featured. Scotts-Irish lore abounds. Speaking of which, the talk on the Belfast-based Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries — shipbuilders extraordinaire — looks pretty interesting.
The House schedule for the week is here, and the list of Senate Committee hearings is here. Put out the blanket, lie back on the lawn, and enjoy the show.