Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 2

By March 2, 2009General

Here in Washington, March comes in like an omnibus lion, gnashing through the snow. It’s also a big week on the Hill for budget hearings. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets with President Obama on Tuesday and speaks to a joint session of Congress Wednesday as part of his American tour. President Obama is expected to nominate Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of Health and Human Services today.

NAM President John Engler and Manufacturing Institute President Emily DeRocco unveil a proposal for nationwide skills certification on Wednesday.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m., moving into consideration of H.R. 1105, the omnibus FY09 appropriations.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. and considers on suspension bills to protect battlefields, sharks and marine mammals — separately, that is. Major bills on the week’s floor schedule are H.R. 1106, Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, and H.R. 157, District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act. For more, see the Majority Leader’s weekly report.

For a list of the week’s hearings, start here.

House Hearings: Hearings on the budget abound this week, Tuesday and Thursday in the House Budget Committee, and Tuesday and Wednesday in Ways & Means. Testifying in W&M are Orzag on Tuesday and Bernanke on Wednesday.  The Workforce Protections Subcommittee of Education and Labor holds a hearing Tuesday, “Encouraging Family-Friendly Workplace Policies.” An Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday looks at science education in the context of “The Gathering Storm”; Norm Augustine testifies. The Natural Resources Committee, Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommitee, on Thursday considers “Energy Outlooks, And The Role Of Federal Onshore And Offshore Resources In Meeting Future Energy Demand.” On Wednesday, House Science reviews 21st Century water policy.

Senate Hearings: Armed Services Committee holds a hearing Tuesday on the DOD’s acquisition of major weapons system. Budget Committee on Tuesday reviews economic and budget challenges, with Fed Chairman Bernanke testifying; on Wednesdy, OMB Director Peter Orszag testifies. On Tuesday, Energy and Natural Resources focuses on smart grid initiatives; the witness list features Evan Gaddis , National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The Homeland Security/Government Affairs Committee on Thursday, “Follow the Money: Transparency and Accountability for Recovery and Reinvestment Spending.” Also Thursday, Energy and Natural Resources examines legislation to pursue future directions of energy research and development, with Energy Secretary Chu testifying. (Details.) Senate Judiciary holds a business meeting Thursday on several measures (including S. 386, Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act; and S. 146, Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act.

Executive Branch: President Obama meets with British PM Brown on Tuesday. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis starts her first full week on the job in Miami today, holding an event with John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO and spending Tuesday there too as part of the four-day AFL-CIO executive council meeting. Vice President Biden addresses the union on Thursday. (For more, see this People’s Weekly World article. Hey, it’s the only media coverage we could find.)

Supreme Court: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday hears oral arguments in Caperton v. Massey, a closely watched case dealing with judicial independence and political campaigns, specifically a businessman who spent $3 million in West Virginia on behalf of a successful state Supreme Court candidate, who later ruled on a case involving the coal company. The Washington Post puts the story on Page A1 today.

Economic Reports: Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the February unemployment data on Friday.

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