Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 12

By January 12, 2009Economy

The Bush Administration is packing boxes, President-elect Obama moves across Lafayette Square to the Blair House, Senate confirmation hearings continue on Cabinet pre-nominees, and the first inaugural events get under way. A sense of metatransmogrification descends on Washington, as does a cold front from Canada (via Chicago).

President-elect Obama meets today with President Calderon of Mexico. The Obama family moves into the Blair House from the Hay-Adams on Thursday, restoring a bit of traffic transparency to downtown Washington. Bush and Obama may request second distribution of TARP funds as early as today.

The House convenes Tuesday, with two bills of significance Wednesday or Thursday: the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009; and H.R. 384, the TARP Reform and Accountability Act. (See The Weekly Leader for more schedule.)

The Senate, which was in session Sunday, spends much the week on S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which combines 150 lands bills that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) raised objections to because of the multibillion dollar costs. Consideration is possible of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, probably in the form of S. 181, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Milkulski (statement); the House last week passed  H.R. 11, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and H.R. 12, the Paycheck Fairness Act, to raise the marginal costs of hiring new employees.

Senate Hearings: Confirmation hearings dominate the week (the links go the respective committee hearing pages): Tuesday Hillary Rodham Clinton for Secretary of State; Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;  Steven Chu for Department of Energy; Arne Duncan for Secretary of Education; Lisa Jackson for EPA Administrator. WednesdayPeter Orszag, OMB Director; Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture. ThursdayEric Holder, Attorney General; Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security; Susan E. Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations; Ken Salazar, Secretary of Interior; Mary Schapiro, SEC Commissioner, and other economic appointees. (And news accounts say Tim Geithner for Secretary of Treasury on Thursday.)

Otherwise, on Thursday, the Budget Committee holds a hearing, “The Debt Outlook and its Implications for Policy.” The same day, the HELP Committee considers, “Investing in Health IT (information technology): A Stimulus for a Healthier America.”

House Hearings: House Financial Services holds a hearing Tuesday, “Priorities for the Next Administration: Use of TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) Funds under EESA (Emergency Economic Stabilization Act).” On Wednesday, House Small Business, “The State of the Small Business Economy and Identifying Policies to Promote an Economic Recovery.” On Thursday, the Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee, “Stimulus Package and Energy: Creating Jobs, Opportunities for All.” For ALL. That means YOU!

Executive Branch: President Bush holds his final Cabinet meetings Tuesday morning and in the afternoon presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom awards to former British PM Tony Blair, former Australian PM John Howard, and President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia. (For more on POTUS schedule, see press briefing from Friday.)

Treasury Secretary Paulson speaks today, Monday, at Resources for the Future, ” How Markets Can Help Address Climate Change and Other Environmental Problems.” Interim Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Neel Kashkari speaks Tuesday at Georgetown on TARP implementation.

Judicial Branch:  The U.S. Supreme Court has a full week of oral arguments scheduled. Of interest to those who follow extractive industries, which are always creating jobs and opportunities for all, is today’s hearing on the consolidated Coeur Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (07-984) and Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (07-990), concerning regulation of the mine tailings, with a broader significance for wetlands regulation. The Anchorage Daily News has a story.

Economic Reports: Voila, the Producer Price Index on Thursday and the Consumer Price Index on Friday. More at Briefing.com.

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