Back they come, Congress, sliding into Washington for a month of legislating and politicking before the Independence Day holiday. NAM President John Engler promotes Health IT on the Hill this week, the Senate Democrats hold a “manufacturing summit,” and energy fuels the conversations. So here’s the week ahead: Give us 10 million pixels, and we’ll give you the world!
The Senate convenes today at 2:30 p.m., returning to the spirited debate on S. 1348, the comprehensive immigration reform bill. The NAM will be contacting the Senate in support of Cantwell-Cornyn amendment (S. Amdt. 1249) to retain employers’ flexibility in selecting employees with the right skills to sponsor for visas. The NAM also objects to provisions in Title III that would set up an onerous and confusing employer verification system.
Along those lines, the House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday on the business community’s perspective on immigration.
The House reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday (no votes until 6:30 p.m.), and the hot issue of the week is S. 5, relaxing federal restrictions against embryonic stem-cell research. Mid-week, the House will consider on suspension H.R. 632, establishing monetary prizes for significant achievements in the area of hydrogen energy.
Many, many discussions are under way on the energy front. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) has compiled five “discussion drafts” that will form the basis of House energy legislation this summer, and this week features several energy hearings. (The discussion drafts are available at the House Energy and Commerce website here.)
To wit: House Natural Resources will mark up H.R. 2337, the Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing at 9:30 a.m. Thursday on alternate energy uses on the Outer Continental Shelf, and House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality meets at 10 a.m. Thursday to discuss alternative fuels, infrastructure and vehicles.
Senate Democrats are holding a day-long manufacturing summit on Wednesday, featuring the CEOs from Detroit’s Big Three automakers and representatives from the UAW. (Detroit News story here.) Trade and health care are also on the agenda. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) organized the summit — background here — and it’s good to see Congress focusing on manufacturing policy, even in a partisan format. The NAM was not invited to participate, though.
But the NAM will be represented among the witnesses at 10 a.m. Wednesday before a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee hearing on legislation to improve consumer product safety for children. More on this as it develops.
We’ve saved the best for last: NAM President John Engler heads to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a news conference announcing the new Health IT Now!, Healthy Patients for Health Technology, a coalition to promote the rapid deployment of health information technology. Joining Engler will be former Rep. Nancy Johnson (D-CT) and former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA). It’s 10 a.m. at Room SC-4 at the U.S. Capital.
Otherwise, the schedule of Senate committee hearings is available here.
The House’s schedule for the week is here as a .pdf file.