The Week Ahead: The Week of December 10

By December 10, 2007General

The political wheels of the omnibus go ’round, ’round, ’round as Congress rolls to considering a catch-all spending bill. (The omni is attached to the bus of H.R. 2764, the State and foreign ops appropriations.) OMB Director Jim Nussle says President Bush would veto the bill because it’s too expensive. House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid issue a statement in response. “Recklessly” is the adverb of choice.

The House convenes today at 3 p.m. for a pro forma session and then gets to work, one assumes, at 10:30 Tuesday. The week’s schedule is here. Also on the floor agenda: H.R. 2082, the intelligence authorization, and conference report on H.R. 1585, defense authorization. The House will also vote on H.R. 2761, the terrorism insurance bill, which the NAM supports.

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. today and takes up H.R. 2419, the farm bill. Also in the Senate is the energy bill (H.R. 6), and there’s talk of stripping out the tax increases and renewable fuels standard language to make passage possible. Also: S. 2248, the FISA rewrite, with the big question being retroactive immunity for telecom companies.

House hearings: On Wednesday, a Small Business hearing on Sarbanes-Oxley. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing Wednesday on energy speculation, considering the need for new price regulation. On Thursday, an Education and Labor subcommittee joint hearing with Senate HELP subcommittee on recent decisions by the National Labor Relations Board. (Details.) Also Thursday, Judiciary considers H.R 4279, to increase protections for intellectual property.

Senate hearings: Energy and Natural Resources subcommittees hold joint hearings Tuesday on crude oil market speculation. (Details.) Also Tuesday a full committee hearing on S. 2156, the SECURE Water Act. On Thursday, the full committee holds a hearing on changing the 1872 Mining Law. Meanwhile, two Senate Judiciary subcommittees consider the Sunshine in Litigation Act and court secrecy at hearing Tuesday.(Details.) On Wednesday, a Judiciary subcommittee considers S. 1782, the Arbitration Fairness Act. Also Wednesday, a Senate Commerce subcommittee considers federal hours-of-service rules for truck drivers. The full committee holds an oversight hearing on the FCC on Thursday.

Executive Branch: Off to Beijing for the latest meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, scheduled to start Wednesday local time. Leading the delegation is Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson , joined by Commerce Secretary Gutierrez, HHS Secretary Leavitt, U.S. Trade Rep. Schwab, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson and Acting Ag Secretary Chuck Conner. Gutierrez and Schwab also have a session with the Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade scheduled for Tuesday.

Elsewhere: The Fed meets Tuesday with another cut in interest rates possible. Laborpalooza starts today here in Washington, D.C. (Silver Spring, actually), as the AFL-CIO sponsors a conference on global labor issues, or as they put it, a “historic global summit.” Everything’s a summit these days. Like Bali. Where brand-new Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore will lecture us this week.

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