Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 5

By January 5, 2009Economy, General

The 111th Congress begins, Presidents ex- and -elect meet. President-elect Obama and his family have sconced to Washington (the Hay-Adams), and he meets this afternoon with Congressional leadership on the economy. More groups lay claim to financial relief and economic stimulus legislation. Or so one anticipates.

Rod Blagojevich. Roland Burris. Norm Coleman. Al Franken. Bill Richardson. Caroline Kennedy. Etc.

The House convenes at noon Tuesday, adopts its rules, and on Wednesday meets in joint session to count the electoral ballots. Also on the floor agenda are two prominent bills passed in the last House, expanding the grounds for suing employers on wage and gender discrimination: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. For the House floor schedule, see the Majority Leader’s weekly report.

The Senate also convenes Tuesday noon. Even before the nominations are made official, Senate committees begin (pre-)confirmation hearings. Senate HELP Committee hears from Tom Daschle for HHS Secretary on Thursday, and Rep. Hilda Solis for Labor on Friday.

President Bush hosts a private lunch Wednesday for President-elect Obama and the former presidents, Ford, Carter, Clinton and the first Bush. Will they screen Frost/Nixon? President-elect Obama is expected to give a major speech on the economy on Thursday.

Traffic will be HORRIBLE this week in D.C.

House Hearings:
House Financial Services kicks off a busy week today with “Assessing the Madoff Ponzi and the Need for Regulatory Reform.” On Wednesday, it meets on “Priorities for the Next Administration: Use of TARP Funds under EESA.” Also Wednesday, House Education and Labor holds a “forum” — not a bipartisan hearing, with authority to act — “An Economic Recovery and Job Creation Plan.” (See this article in The Hill.)

Senate Hearings: On Thursday, Senate Energy and Natural resources holds a hearing on energy security challenges. Also Thursday, Environment and Public Works meets for “Oversight Hearing on the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Recent Major Coal Ash Spill.”

Executive Branch: President Bush and the First Lady have dinner tonight with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and combatant commanders. On Tuesday, he hosts a lunch for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mrs. Ban Soon-taek. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson speaks Wednesday in D.C. at the Economic Club, “Role of the GSEs in Supporting the Housing Recovery.” U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab is in Geneva today and holds a press briefing there Tuesday. She then travels to Las Vegas for the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show.

Economic Reports: The big report this week comes from the Department of Labor on Friday, December employment figures. For the full week’s list of reports, see this Briefing.com entry.

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