The Week Ahead: The Week of May 19

By May 19, 2008General

How about we start the week with a plug for the 2008 National Summit on American Competitiveness on Thursday in Chicago? Organized by the Department of Commerce, the summit brings manufacturing leaders, policy thinkers and public officials, focusing attention on what’s needed to keep the U.S. economy competive. NAM President John Engler moderates a panel on trade agreements, and Secretaries Gutierrez and Paulson speak.

Here in Washington, heavy action pending the one-week Memorial Day recess, with numerous committees getting their pound of oil. (If you drill, do we not produce?) The House convenes at 10:30 a.m. today, with major items on the week’s schedule including H.R. 5658, the defense authorization act, and H.R. 6049, the renewable energy and tax extenders legislation. (It includes tax breaks for renewable energy, the R&D tax credit, and the federal deduction for state and local taxes.)
The Majority Leader’s office has posted the floor schedule. And today, many, many, many special days declared.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and could soon take up H.R. 2642, the supplemental appropriation bill, which includes funding for the Iraq war. The Senate could act on the mandatory collective bargaining for firefighters and police officers, a priority for organized labor. Both the Senate and House could take up the president’s expected veto of the farm bill.

For a full listing of this week’s committee hearings, see theDaily Digest pages.

House hearings: On Tuesday, House Oversight holds a hearing on the EPA’s new ozone standards. Foreign Affairs holds a hearing Tuesday on export compliance and security; on Wednesday, on the rise of sovereign wealth funds, and Thursday, “Rising Oil Prices: Declining National Security?” A Homeland Security subcommittee on Wednesday considers cyber vulnerabilities of the electric grid. (Based on a GAO study.) A separate subcommittee on Thursday marks up numerous border security bills: H.R. 5662, Putting Our Resources Towards Security (PORTS) Act; H.R. 5552, Border Accountability Act of 2008; and H.R. 4008, SAVE Act of 2007. On Thursday, a Judiciary task force reviews retail gas prices and competition in the oil industry. Natural Resources on Wednesday: “The Danger of Deception: Do Endangered Species Have a Chance?” (With testimony from a representative of an organization we didn’t know about: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.) And House Science oversight subcommittee Wednesday, “Restructured IRIS System: Have Polluters and Politics Overwhelmed Science?.”

Senate hearingsOn Tuesday, Energy and Natural resources examines energy and economic effects of climate change legislation. Also Tuesday, the HELP Committee holds a hearing on plant closures, highlighting the 20th anniversary of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. (Sen. Kennedy’s hospitalization may affect schedule.) Judiciary on Tuesday looks on global internet freedom and “corporate responsibility.” On Wednesday, Judiciary holds a hearing, “Exploring the Skyrocketing Price of Oil,” with testimony from top oil company executives. Senate Agriculture on Wednesday considers what the farm and forestry sectors can do to help climate change. On Thursday, Finance holds a hearing on S. 1919, U.S. trade enforcement priorities.

Executive Branch: President Bush is back in Washington after a week in the Middle East. On Tuesday, he gives White House remarks on World Trade Week. Commerce Secretary Gutierrez today tours Dredging Supply Company in Reserve, La., a company that would benefit from the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Labor Secretary Chao is in Scottsdale on Tuesday for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry Manufacturer of the Year.

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