Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 23

By March 23, 2009Economy

President Obama defends his budget and calls for more government financial regulation, Treasury Secretary Geithner dons the cloak of the toxic asset avenger, and Congress continues to rage, rage against the dying of the …whadda you got?

Treasury Geithner today unveils a  plan for a “public-private partnership” to ease credit and buy up banks’ toxic assets. The President today holds an event on innovation, clean energy and the budget. On Tuesday, he meets with Australian Prime Minister Rudd and in the evening, holds a national news conference at the White House. On Wednesday, he travels to Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Democrats.

NAM President John Engler participates in several Canadian-oriented discussions this week in Washington: At a CEO Summit on Tuesday, sponsored by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives; and on Wednesday, a forum, “Towards a Better Border: The United States and Canada,” sponsored by the Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution and Canadian International Council.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. and goes into business session at 2 p.m. with many suspensions. The top bills anticipated for floor action this week are H.R. 146, Omnibus Public Land Management Act, and H.R. 1404, Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act. For more, see the Majority Leader’s “Weekly Leader.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m., and at 3 p.m. or so will move to debate on a motion to proceed to H.R. 1388, to expand national service, with the cloture vote at 6 p.m. Waiting the Senate’s consideration is H.R. 1586, the surely-it’s-unconstitutional retroactive tax on recipients of AIG bonuses.

For a full list of the week’s committee hearings, go to the last Daily Digest.

Senate Hearings: Let’s highlight this week’s only hearing with the word “manufacturing” in its title: On Thursday, the full Energy and Natural Resources Committee reviews Chairman Bingaman’s legislation, S. 661, the “Restoring America’s Manufacturing Leadership through Energy Efficiency Act.” (Hearing details.) Elsewhere…

The full Senate HELP Committee on Tuesday, a hearing, “Addressing Insurance Market Reform in National Health Reform.” A Senate EPW subcommittee on Tuesday examines the issue, “Three Mile Island – Looking Back on Thirty Years of Lessons Learned.” A Senate Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday considers an NAM infrastructure priority, “FAA Reauthorization – NextGen And The Benefits of Modernization.” Also Wednesday, a Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee considers draft legislation to improve energy market transparency and regulation. Senate EPW holds full committee hearing Wednesday, “The Need for Transportation Investment,” with testimony from Transportation Secretary LaHood and Gov. Rendell. Senate Foreign Relations hears from George Soros and Larry Lindsey considering “Foreign Policy and the Global Economic Crisis.” On Thursday, the Senate Banking Comittee holds a hearing, “Enhancing Investor Protection and the Regulation of Securities Markets.” The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday considers, “The Middle Income Tax Relief Question: Extend, Modify, or Expire?” We say, EXTEND, in order to restore America’s manufacturing leadership. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee marks up S.515, the “Patent Reform Act of 2009.”

The Senate Republican Policy Committee this afternoon holds a hearing (partisan, no legislative authority) on what they’re calling the “Employee NO Choice Act.” It’s at 3 p.m., Dirksen 562. (Details.)

House Hearings: A House Education and Labor subcommittee today holds a field hearing in Albany, N.Y., “New Innovations and Best Practices Under the Workforce Investment Act.” It’s cap and trade week at House Ways & Means. On Tuesday, the Trade subcommittee considers the trade elements; on Thursday the full committee weighs price volatility in climate change legislation, i.e., maximizing government revenues. Two House Natural Resources subcommittees on Tuesday hold a joint hearing, “Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf and the Future of our Oceans.” Environmental groups are really promoting this one, promising to give committee members bottles of oily rocks. On Tuesday, a House Science subcommittee examines federal vehicle technology R&D. The full Science Committee on Wednesday marks up the Electronic Waste Research and Development Act and H.R.1145, the “National Water Research and Development Initiative Act.”  (Hearing details.) On Thursday, a different Science subcommittee reviews, “Aviation and the Emerging Use of Biofuels.” More testimony from Paul Krugman this week, appearing at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, “Raising Wages and Living Standards for families and Workers.” Also Wednesday, Financial Services marks up legislation to eliminate bonuses to “government firms receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” (Chairman Frank news release. Relevant Wall Street Journal editorial.) On Thursday, the full Financial Services Committee holds a hearing, “Addressing the Need for Comprehensive Regulatory Reform.” Treasury Secretary Geithner testifies.

In addition, the House Appropriations Committee and subcommittees have really kicked up the hearing schedule this week. For the full list, go here. But we do highlight this one in light of the public firestorm over the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: March 25, Subcommittee on Financial Services, and General Government, on U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 10 a.m., 2220 Rayburn.

Executive Branch: Secretary Clinton travels to Mexico City and Monterrey Wednesday and Thursday, discussing the Merida Initiative and perhaps, one hopes, cross-border trucking. Vice President travels to Costa Rica and Chile. Treasury Secretary Geithner goes to Colombia this weekend, speaking at the Inter-American Development Bank’s general assembly in Medellin on Sunday. One hopes the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement comes up.

Economic Reports: Existing Home Sales on Monday, Durable Goods Orders on Wednesday and the February Personal Income and Spending report on Friday. For more, see Briefing.com.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • judythornton says:

    No one can trust him for a lot of reasons. First, his tax problem. Highly unlikely it was an honest mistake. 2nd, he was a main author of TARP, which has yet to be effective. 3: He lied about the AIG bonuses. He knew, bonuses flew; and now the story changes because of outrage. We don’t have honest people. They must have another agenda, otherwise they’d be totally honest.

    It is well documented to a point there is not a question they are not telling the truth. Here is why O and G are spewing misinformation!


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