Dispatch from the Front: The Week of February 17

By February 16, 2009General

Today is a federal holiday, Presidents Day, and NAM-HQ is observant. Congress is on its February break this week, using the time away from Washington to read the economic stimulus bill. President Obama is scheduled to sign the bill in Denver Tuesday, speak on home foreclosures in Phoenix Wednesday, and make his first foreign trip Thursday to parley with Canadian Prime Minister Harper.

Congress is engaged in a “District Work Period” for the week, with both chambers returning 2 p.m. next Monday. See Friday’s Daily Digest for more.

President Obama heads to Denver Tuesday to sign H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and to give a speech on the economy. The setting is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in City Park, where a new exhibition proclaims, “The last people to get this close had to be evacuated.” On Wednesday, the President releases his housing/foreclosure plan in Phoenix, which has suffered from the housing collapse. Some news accounts report the President will support “cram down” language to allow bankruptcy judges to abrogate housing contracts. On Thursday, President Obama travels to Ottawa, with trade, energy and Afghanistan among the topics in discussions with Prime Minister Harper.

GM and Chrysler have until Tuesday to submit their plans for attaining viability to the White House, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Congressional Hearings: Just two field hearings this week. The Senate HELP Committee, on which Maryland’s Senator Mikulski sits, meets Tuesday in Colombia, Md., for a hearing, “Healthy Howard: Improving Care Through Innovation.” On Friday, House Transportation’s subcommittee on railroads, et al., holds a hearing in Los Angeles, “Confronting Freight Challengers in Southern California.

Executive Branch: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is traveling in Asia: Japan (February 16-18), Indonesia (February 18-19), the Republic of Korea (February 19-20), and China (February 20-22).

Economic Reports: Keeping an eye on inflation this week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the Producer Price Index on Thursday and the Consumer Price Index on Friday. More on economic reports, here.

And on this Presidents Day, we join the good people of Paraguay in honoring Rutherford B. Hayes. Salud!

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