The Week Ahead: The Week of March 31st

By March 31, 2008General

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez comes to the NAM on Friday to discuss the latest employment figures (most likely job losses) being released that day by the Department of Labor. Expect a heavy week of economic discussions, as Treasury Secretary Paulson speaks on the financial markets today, unveiling a major regulatory restructuring plan, and Senate Banking holds a
high-profile hearing Thursday
on turmoil. Turmoil is preferable to panic, right?

Otherwise…Congress is back, the President is a roamin’, and the Pennsylvania primary is still weeks away. For conflict of a more stellar sort, the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica premieres Friday.

The House and Senate both return at 2 p.m. today, and the dissettlement of the financial and housing markets will loom. Senate Democratic leaders want to move a housing assistance bill, the Foreclosure Prevention Act (S. 2636), and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies to the Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday.

The House will consider H.R. 5501, funding the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — $50 billion over five years. And if the President sends the Colombia Free Trade Act to the Hill, it comes first to the House. The floor schedule for the week is here.

House Hearings: On Tuesday, the Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee considers “Drilling for Answers: Oil Company Profits, Runaway Prices and the Pursuit of Alternatives.” . NAM Board Member John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., and top executives from ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron and ConocoPhillips will testify.

Two hearings of note on Wednesday by the transportation subcommittee of Appropriations: 10 a.m. on “Highway and Transit Programs: Urgent Funding Needs”; 2 p.m. on “National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.”

Senate Hearings: A HELP Committee subcommittee holds a hearing Tuesday on OSHA violations. (Details.) The full Commerce Committee marks up legislation on Wednesday, including S. 2688, the Commercial Seafood Consumer Protection Act, and H.R. 802, Maritime Pollution Prevention Act. Also Wednesday, Environment and Public Works holds an oversight hearing on an Endangered Species listing for the polar bear. The high-profile hearing of the week is Senate Banking on Thursday, considering financial turmoil, with Secretary Paulson, Fed Chairman Bernanke, and SEC Chairman Cox testifying. (Details.) Energy and Natural Resources reviews the role of institutional investors on oil prices. And Thursday sees the Finance Committee holding a hearing, “Outside the Box on Estate Tax Reform: Reviewing Ideas to Simplify Planning.” Outside the death tax box? That would be the zombie tax, then.

Executive Branch: President Bush departs today for Ukraine, Romania and Croatia. Huh. We’re spelling it Kyiv now. Bucharest remains Bucharest, which is where a NATO summit is taking place April 2nd through 4th.

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