Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 30

By March 30, 2009Economy

Budget week on the Hill, President Obama addresses aid to automakers this morning and on Tuesday travels to the G20 Summit in London and to other points European. A special House election in New York state on Tuesday is being closely watched by political watchers. And the public tells Congress to fix the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. No fools, they, the public.

NAM President John Engler will speak at the CPSIA rally on April 1st on Capitol Hill, emphasizing the economic damage the law’s overreach has inflicted upon manufacturers while noting its harm to retailers, consumers, home-based businesses, libraries, etc., etc., etc. For more on this event, go to www.amendthecpsia.com and for background on the issue, the Shopfloor.org coverage.

The Senate convenes at 11 a.m. today and goes into consideration of the budget resolution, a five-year plan for federal spending. The budget should dominate the week unless something unhappy happens with the economy.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. today and has the usual rich array of suspensions on the schedule, including the federal media shield bill on Tuesday, H.R. 985, the Free Flow of Information Act. The rest of the week will be taken up by the budget resolution. For the House’s floor schedule for the week, see the Majority Leader’s report.

Both the House and Senate adjourn Friday for the two-week spring recess. For a full list of committee hearings for the week, see the last Congressional Digest.

House Hearings: Appropriations’ ag subcommittee on Thursday reviews federal food safety systems. The Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Homeland Security on Wednesday holds a hearing on cargo and container security. On Thursday, the subcommittee considers immigration enforcement and citizenship verification. Ed&Labor on Tuesday, “Green Jobs and their Role in our Economic Recovery.” Judiciary considers a long slate of punitive measures for fraud, housing finance commercial activity on Wednesday, including the False Claims Correction Act. Active week at Energy and Commerce, including a subcommittee hearing on Tuesday on generic drugs; on Thursday, the communications subcommittee reviews the broadband elements of the stimulus bill. Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday, on AIG’s collapse and rescue (denial, anger, acceptance to follow). A Science and Technology subcommittee on Tuesday marks up science education bills, including H.R. 1709, STEM Education Coordination Act. A separate subcommittee considers research, climate change and transportation infrastructure.

Senate Hearings: The Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy on Tuesday hears from White House economic adviser Christine Rohmer and other economists in a hearing on lessons from the New Deal. (Details.) Keynes was unavailable, having met the long run. Energy and Natural Resources on Tuesday marks up numerous energy-related bills, including S. 661, to strengthen American manufacturing through improved industrial energy efficiency. (The NAM strongly supports S. 661.) An EPW subcommittee on Tuesday examines EPA’s renewable fuels standard, with testimony from Charles T. Drevna of the National Petroleum Refiners Association. Senate Finance reviews TARP six months on, a Tuesday hearing. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, nominee to be Secretary of HHS, appears before two confirmation hearings: Tuesday before the Senate HELP Committee and on Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate Small Business Committee — with a fresh website now featuring the chairman, Sen. Landrieu — holds a confirmation hearing Wednesday for SBA nominee Karen Gordon Mills.

Executive Branch: On the President’s agenda today is aid to the auto manufacturers (including the government’s dismissal of a corporate executive) and a visit to Capitol Hill to lobby House Democrats for his budget. The President leaves for the G20 conclave in London on Tuesday, with stimulus, financial regulation, and fiscal responsibility on the agenda.  Also from AP: “Obama’s jam-packed agenda includes a speech in France on the U.S. trans-Atlantic relationship. He’ll deliver another one in the Czech Republic on proliferation. Then he’s off to hold a roundtable in Turkey with students. He also has plans to meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, as well as a slew of other heads of state as part of a rigorous schedule.” (The White House doesn’t release a public schedule, so we crib and crab.)

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is at the Port of Newark today with New Jersey political leaders to “announce proposal to slash harmful ship emissions.”

Economic Reports: Two closely watched reports scheduled for the week: The ISM manufacturing index for March on Wednesday; on Friday from the BLS, the March unemployment report. For more, see Briefing.com.

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