Dispatch from the Front: The Week of February 9

By February 9, 2009General

It’s a trillion-dollar historic week here in Washington as Congress moves to pass H.R. 1, the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and President Obama moves to sign it. Will anybody be moved to read it?

Massive destimulus occurs Tuesday, as lead and phthalate standards go into effect under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

President Obama travels today to Elkhart, Indiana, to sell the stimulus before holding a prime time news conference tonight. Tomorrow it’s Fort Meyers, Florida, stimulatingly. Also tomorrow, Treasury Secretary Geithner unveils the second stage of financial rescue, the TARPII announcement originally scheduled for Monday.

The Senate returns to H.R. 1 at approximately 1 p.m., with a cloture vote scheduled on the Collins-Nelson “compromise” amendment for 5:30 p.m. Leadership hopes to have a final vote Tuesday. (Courtesy of MichelleMalkin.com, here’s the text of the substitute.) For more of the week’s schedule, see the Daily Digest.

The House convenes at 2 p.m. today. The year’s work of hailing commemorative saluting has begun again, and after that and the suspension calendar, the two big bills of the week are S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, and the stimulus bill, H.R. 1, in whatever form it takes. For the Majority Leader’s floor schedule for the week, go here.

The week’s full schedule of hearings is available in the Congressional Record.

Senate Hearings: The Banking Committee holds an oversight hearing Tuesday on financial rescue legislation, including “a new plan” for TARP. Treasury Secretary Geithner testifies. The Budget Committee examines issues and budget options for health reform Tuesday; on Wednesday, the committee examines “policies to address the crises in financial and housing markets.” On Tuesday, Senate Energy and Natural Resources examines a renewable electricity standards proposal.  On Thursday, the committee reviews the DOE Loan Guarantee Program and clean energy technologies. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday considers increased fraud enforcement in the wake of the economic downturn.

House Hearings:The full House Education and Labor Committee on Thursday holds a hearing, “Examining Workers’ Rights and Violence Against Labor Union Leaders in Colombia,” signaling something about the U.S.-Colombia FTA. A subcommittee that afternoon holds a hearing, “New Innovations and Best Practices, Under the Workforce Investment Act.” The Energy and Commerce subcommittee on energy and environment holds a hearing, “The Climate Challenge: National Security Threats and Economic Opportunities.” Financial Services on Tuesday examines the “Extraordinary Efforts by the Federal Reserve Bank to Provide Liquidity in the Current Financial Crisis,” with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testifying. On Wednesday, the committee follows with “TARP Accountability: Use of Federal Assistance by the First TARP Recipients.” The Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, an oversight hearing, “Offshore Drilling: Environmental and Commercial Perspectives.” Its subcommittee on energy and mineral resources holds a hearing Thursday on H.R. 493, Coal Ash Reclamation, Environment, and Safety Act. The week also sees two House Science and Technology Committee hearings of interest: The full committee on Wednesday on the recycling of electronic waste; on Thursday, it’s a subcommittee overview of transportation R&D.

Executive Branch: It’s a busy week for Treasury Secretary Geithner: On Tuesday he unveils the next financial stability plan and testifies on TARP before Senate Banking; on Wednesday he testifies before Senate Budget; on Saturday, he speaks at the G-7 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Rome.

Away from all this history — history. The bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth is Thursday, February 12.

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