The Week Ahead: The Week of October 29

By October 29, 2007General

America’s cultural fate lies in peril this week, as the Writers Guild of America threatens to walk out on the TV networks and movie studios Thursday. Greatest threat: More “Will and Grace” reruns.

Fortunately, Congress has some entertaining activities planned. We expect (please!) an extension of the Internet tax moratorium making it to the president, and more vollying on SCHIP expansion (H.R. 3693). House floor schedule for the week is here, and the Senate hearings are here.

The House begins business at 2 p.m., including the declaration of “County Music Month” and honoring the industry’s contributions to the national defense. On the floor beginning Wednesday are three bills of interest to manufacturers:

  • H.R. 3867 – Small Business Contracting Program Improvements Act, affecting federal contracting.
  • H.R. 2262 – Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act, which includes many provisions that will make raw materials more expensive.
  • H.R. 3920 – Trade and Globalization Assistance Act, i.e, trade adjustment assistance. Passage sets the stage for action on the free trade agreements, starting with the U.S.-Peru pact. (Ways & Means may markup the Peru agreement this week.)
  • The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. and moves to S. 294, Amtrak reauthorization. SCHIP should come up, and behind the scenes, negotiations over final Farm Bill language for a vote next week. (Boy, do the Washington Post editorialists hate the Farm Bill.)

    House hearings: On Tuesday, the House Ag Committee holds a hearing on technologies in the meat industry. Energy & Commerce marks up H.R.1534, the Mercury Export Ban. Also Tuesday, a Homeland Security subcommittee reviews implementation of the SAFE (Security and Accountability For Every) Port Act. (Details.) The Small Business Committee holds a hearing Thursday on the impact of pending free trade agreements on small business. The House Oversight Committee’s schedule is busy, with a hearing Wednesday on health and environmental protections in oil and gas development, and a subcommittee hearing Thursday on lack of coordination on state and federal health IT programs.

    Senate hearings: On Tuesday, the Commerce Committee marks up a variety of bills, including S.2045, the CPSC Reform Act. On Wednesday, Environment and Public Works holds a hearing on the licensing of Yucca Mountain. Sens. Reid, Ensign and DeMint are testifying. The Senate Judiciary considers FISA amendments on Wednesday (including the telecom immunity issue). Also Wednesday, a Banking subcommittee holds a hearing on the securities industry and climate disclosures.

    The White House is less forthcoming about the President’s schedule than it used to be. We see in the papers that President Bush is in Pennsylvania today for political events.

    Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is traveling in India.

    And no Monday is complete without checking in on Bismarck, N.D., where today the Great Plains Energy Exposition is taking place. Great line-up at the event, co-hosted by Senator Dorgan, among others: DOE Secretary Sam Bodman; Steve Hinchman, senior vice president of Marathon Oil; and James E. Rogers, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy. As we’ve noted before, North Dakota embraces its energy sector, with good results.

    Finally, NAM President John Engler travels with delegations this week and next to Japan and China. More on that later.

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