The Week Ahead: The Week of January 28

By January 28, 2008General

The State of the Union, foreign intelligence, more stimulating conversation, the Fed meets, Florida’s GOP primary, and political retreats: That’s the week ahead, in that order, more or less.

Congress convenes at 9 p.m. this evening in joint session to hear President Bush’s final State of the Union address. You know the drill.

The Senate starts its floor business earlier in the day, convening at 2 p.m. Debate on S. 2248, the FISA bill, begins at 3 p.m., and a key cloture vote on the Intelligence Committee language is scheduled for 4 p.m. The rest of the week should include much debate over tax relief and economic stimulus plans, with the Senate seeking to put its own stamp — this one, “$$$” — on the Administration-House version. Former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer should be confirmed for Secretary of Agriculture. List of Senate committe hearings is here.

The House convenes at 2 p.m. today, salutes a variety of post offices for winning national sports championships, and on Tuesday debates H.R.1528, to designate the New England Scenic Trail. After that, debate on the stimulus plan. The House is not in session Wednesday through Friday while Democrats retreat. The weeks’ schedule from the Majority Leader’s office is here.

Senate hearings: Big week for big-picture hearings on the Senate Budget Committee. On Tuesday, the committee hears from GAO Comptroller General David Walker on the long-term budget outlook. Wednesday, academic/think tank economists testify on economic stimulus. On Thursday, the topic is long-term health-care spending. List of Budget hearings here. The HELP Committee joins the contextualizing Thursday with a hearing on working families and economic storms.

In other committee hearings, Environment and Public Works ponders the polar bear (grrrrr) on Wednesday, and on Thursday the committee reviews the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission report. Small Business reviews women’s contracting Wednesday. On Thursday, Energy and Natural Resources considers S.2323, the “Carbon Capture and Storage Technology Act of 2007” and S.2144, the “Carbon Dioxide Pipeline Study Act of 2007.”

House hearings: House Budget committee on Tuesday holds a hearing, “Using Fiscal Policy to Bolster the U.S. Economy.” The Education and Labor Committee on Tuesday considers H.R. 3195, the “ADA Restoration Act of 2007,” where “restoration” means expanding grounds for complaints and litigation.

House Energy and Commerce’s oversight subcommittee marks up its subpoena of FDA witnesses and documents at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, and then goes into a hearing, “Science and Mission at Risk: FDA’s Self-Assessment.” Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach among the many witnesses. A House Natural Resources subcommittee considers California’s water problems on Tuesday. Also Tuesday, the Small Business Committee reviews, “SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research): America’s National Technology Development Incubator.”

Executive Branch: On Tuesday, President Bush travels to the Jericho Program (prisoner re-entry) in Baltimore to promote faith-based initiatives. He makes a swing to the West Coast beginning Wednesday, making stops in California, Nevada, Colorado and then Missouri — a mixture of economic and trade messages and partisan events. (From the White House briefing.)

The Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday, with prognosticators speculating about further rate cuts. Among the economic indicators this week, January’s unemployment figures are released on Friday.

In the political world, Tuesday is the Florida Republican primary and the “phantom” Democratic primary, leading up to the 22-state holterdipolter of February 5th’s Super Tuesday.

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