Dispatch from the Front: The Week of April 20

By April 20, 2009General

Congress returns to Washington after a two-week recess that saw the EPA issue a proposed endangerment finding for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions, just in time for Earth Day emoting on Wednesday. The House Energy and Commerce Committee holds four hearings on cap-and-trade legislation this week. Democratic leadership will push for a conference agreement on the FY 2010 budget, and in the weeks ahead, expect debate on health care, credit cards and energy.

President Obama holds his first full Cabinet meeting today, instructing his Executive Branch leaders to identify $100 million in budget cuts.

NAM President John Engler speaks Wednesday in Alabama to the Birmingham Rotary Club.

The Senate convenes today, Monday, at 2 p.m. and moves to consideration of S.386, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act. Also set for today are confirmation votes on Justice Department nominees for assistant AGs: Tony West, Lanny Breuer and Christine Anne Varney to head civil, criminal and antitrust divisions.

The House convenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday and has 22 bills and resolutions on the suspension agenda through Wednesday, including H.R. 1580, Electronic Waste Research and Development Act. Earth Day? Heck, it’s Earth Week! And so there will be substantive debate on H.R. 1145, the National Water Research and Development Initiative Act. For more, see the release from the House Majority Leader.

House Committees: The Energy and Environment Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce holds four hearings throughout the week on “The American Clean Energy Security Act,” i.e., cap-and-trade. (Schedule) A House Education and Labor subcommittee holds a hearing Wednesday on “401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act of 2009.” On Thursday, the subcommittee considers “Ways to Reduce the Cost of Health Insurance for Employers, Employees and their Families.” House Science on Wednesday considers “Monitoring, Measurement and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions II: The Role of Federal and Academic Research and Monitoring Programs.” Also Wednesday, the Small Business Committee reviews “The Importance of Technology in an Economic Recovery.” A House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Wednesday looks at railroad rehab and improvement financing. House Ways & Means on Wednesday holds a hearing on insurance market reforms and health care. Energy and Commerce’s oversight subcommittee holds a hearing Tuesday, “Secrecy in the Response to Bayer’s Fatal Chemical Plant Explosion.” A separate subcommittee on Thursday holds a hearing on communications networks and consumer privacy. The full House Financial Services Committee on Thursday discusses H.R.1728, the “Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act.” (Hearing details.) House Science on Thursday considers small business innovation research and technology transfer programs and financing.

Senate Committees: The full Senate Finance Committee holds a “roundtable” Tuesday, “Reforming America’s Health Care Delivery System.” (Details.) Also Tuesday, the committee considers the nomination of Kansas Gov. Sebelius to be HHS Secretary. On Thursday, Finance holds a hearing on technology neutrality in energy taxation. The Senate HELP Committee promotes “Green Skills Training for Workers” at a hearing Tuesday, with Labor Secretary Solis testifying. Energy and Natural Resources on Wednesday considers energy efficiency resource standards for retail electricity and natural gas sellers, including S. 548, Save American Energy Act. Testifying is Rich Wells, Vice President of Energy, Dow Chemical. Senate Foreign Relations discusses the Green World Order with a hearing Wednesday, “Global Climate Change: U.S. Leadership for a New Global Agreement.”

Economic Reports: On Thursday, it’s existing home sales for March; and Friday, new home sales. Also Friday, the report on durable goods orders for March. For more, see Briefing.com. As Reuters reports, it’s a big week for corporate earnings reports. And finance ministers and bank governors attend an IMF meeting in Washington this week.

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