Dispatch from the Front: The Week of November 18

By November 17, 2008Economy, Trade

Congress returns to Washington for a post-election, pre-Thanksgiving session designed to address an economic stimulus bill, although judging by news reports, the prospects for major legislation — including aid for the auto industry — appear slim.*

The Senate convenes at noon today, and the House plans to reassemble at 1 p.m. Wednesday. (That’s the verb the Majority Leader’s office uses, “reassemble.”)  For the House schedule go here and committee hearings, here.

House Democrats meet Tuesday to select their leadership. House Republicans hold their leadership elections Wednesday and Thursday; Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) is challenging current Minority Leader John Boehner.

House hearings: The House Financial Services Committee holds two hearings full of stimulating consequences: Tuesday morning it’s “Oversight of Implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and of Governing Lending and Insurance Facilities; Impact on Economy and Credit Availability,” with Treasury Secretary Paulson, Fed Chairman Bernanke, and FDIC Chairman Bair, along with representatives of the financial trade associations. On Wednesday, it’s “Stabilizing the Financial Condition of the American Automobile Industry.”

The Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, holds a hearing Tuesday, “Midnight Rulemaking: Shedding Some Light,” reprising the activist canard that regulations in the works for years are somehow being foisted on the public as a last moment surprise.  House Agriculture on Thursday reviews the role of credit derivatives in the U.S. economy. Also Thursday, Small Business considers federal moves to improve credit conditions for small business.

Senate Hearings: On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing to examine the state of the domestic auto industry. On Wednesday, the Senate Budget Committee outlooks the economy and options for stimulus. Also Wednesday, Senate Finance holds a hearing, “Health Care Reform: An Economic Perspective.”

Executive Branch: President Bush on Tuesday is at the DOT making remarks on aviation congestion and transportation safety. (Secretary Peters joins him and on Thursday, she embarks from Dulles to O’Hare and SeaTac to open new runways.) On Wednesday, President Bush helps celebrate the reopening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, which officially opens Friday.

Treasury Secretary Paulson discusses the economy and markets this evening with The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. (It’s a major two-day conference at the Four Seasons in D.C., with many manufacturing executives on hand — see the program.) Paulson travels to Simi Valley to give the annual Reagan Lecture on Thursday. On Tuesday, Secretary Gutierrez talks about international market opportunities at the Small Business Administration International Trade Symposium, highlighting the importance of pending free-trade agreements. That evening Secretary Gutierrez delivers remarks at the Annual Corporate Citizenship Awards Dinner.

Economic Reports: Industrial production is out today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the October CPI on Wednesday as well as Real Earnings. On Friday, BLS releases Mass Layoffs (Monthly) and Regional and State Employment and Unemployment for October. (More from CBS Marketwatch.)

* Judging by Meet the Press (transcript) with Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and Richard Shelby of Alabama, as well as Fox News Sunday (transcript) with Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Jon Kyl of Arizona.)

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