Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 16

By March 16, 2009General

Washington marks St. Patrick’s Day this week, with President O’Bama meeting Tuesday with The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, as well as Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Peter Robinson. Meanwhile, the recession has clearly hit hard here in D.C., with hoary Irish folk-punk faves the Pogues failing to sell out the final show of their three-night $55-a-ticket stand at the 9:30 Club.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. holds a cloture vote on H.R. 146, which used to be about Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields but is now the vehicle for the Omnibus Public Lands bill (S. 22), previously approved in the Senate. Confirmation of former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to be U.S. Trade Representative may be voted on.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. and gets into the business portion of the day at 2 p.m. Following suspensions — five new post office names! — the major floor issue of the week is H.R. 1388, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, also known as the national service legislation. For the week’s floor activities, go here.

For the full list of committee hearings, see last Friday’s Congressional Record’s Daily Digest.

President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner today announce a package of aid to small businesses. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gives us the rest of the President’s week: “On Wednesday afternoon, the President will travel to southern California and hold a town hall meeting in Santa Ana. He will then travel to Los Angeles, and will spend the night in L.A., holding a couple of events in Los Angeles on Thursday, before returning quite late that evening to Washington.” Details to come.

Senate Hearings:The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday holds a hearing entitled, “Perspectives on Modernizing Insurance Regulation.” (Banking has several other hearings on financial regulation this week.) Energy and Natural Resources holds a full committee hearing Tuesday on energy development on public lands and the OCS. On Wednesday the committee considers nuclear energy development; Thursday its topic is the Appliance Standards Improvement Act. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday marks up S. 515, the Patent Reform Act of 209. The Senate Small Business Committee on Thursday holds a hearing on small business lending. (The Commitee needs to update its website; the chairman is now Sen. Landrieu, not Sen. Kerry.)

House Hearings:The House Budget Committee holds a hearing Tuesday, “Budgeting for Transportation: Financing Investments in Highways and Mass Transit.” An Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Tuesday, “Stimulating the Economy through Trade: Examining the Role of Export Promotion.” NAM Vice President for International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo is set to testify. On Wednesday, the Energy and Environment subcommittee considers, “Competitiveness and Climate Policy: Avoiding Leakage of Jobs and Emissions.” The Oversight subcommittee on Thursday, “The Salmonella Outbreak: The Role of Industry in Protecting the Nation’s Food Supply.” The House Natural Resources Committee, energy and mineral resources subcommittee, holds a hearing Tuesday, “Leasing and Development of Oil and Gas Resources on the Outer Continental Shelf.” Energy Secretary Chu testifies Tuesday before the House Science and Technology Committee, “New Directions for Energy Research and Development at Energy Department.” The Transportation Security subcommittee of House Homeland Security on Wednesday, “100 Percent Air Cargo Screening: Can We Secure America’s Skies?” The Aviation subcommittee of House Infrastructure and Transportation hearing Wednesday, “ATC (air traffic control) Modernization and NextGen: Near-Term Achievable Goals.

The Economy, Etc.: The Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday. CNBC reports on the economic week ahead, noting, “Economic data in the coming week includes inflation data, with the PPI Tuesday and CPI Wednesday.”

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