Dispatch from the Front: The Week of April 27

By April 27, 2009General

One hundred days. One hundred days. Days? One hundred. On Wednesday, President Obama holds a prime-time news conference that coincides with the 100th day of his Administration. Seems awfully insensitive to the “base-12” community.

In Congress, the major issue of the week should be the conference report on FY2010 congressional budget, S.Con.Res. 13. (So budget resolutions aren’t revenue measures that must constitutionally start in the House? Interesting.) On the Senate side, it appears the Democratic leadership have embraced using reconciliation to pass health care and education bills.

The Senate convenes today at 2 p.m. for its 62nd day in session during the 111th Congress. A cloture vote is pending on S. 386, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m., with the usual assortment of suspensions Monday and Tuesday, including H.R. 1747, the Great Lakes Icebreaker Replacement Act. (There’s still ice on the Great Lakes? But we were told that global …) Also on the floor agenda are H.R. 1913, Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and H.R. 627, Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009. For more, see the Majority Leader’s weekly report.

On Tuesday, the unions and others will commemorate Workers Memorial Day, which inevitably involves anti-business fulminating. As you’ll see in the committee hearings listed below, there are several hearings about OSHA, and there’s a new bill in, H.R. 2607, the Protecting America’s Workers Act, which includes increased fines and felony criminal prosecutions of business violators. (Fact sheet.)

For the full list of committee hearings for the week, see the last Daily Digest.

President Obama travels to suburban St. Louis for a townhall meeting Wednesday before returning to the White House for the national news conference. The White House will also concern itself this week with the swine flu outbreak (see Sunday WH briefing transcript) and the status of Chrysler and GM.

Senate Hearings: A Senate Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday, “Formaldehyde in Consumer Products and Textiles.” (The inevitable trial lawyer connection: Lawsuit against a toxic bra.) Commerce’s transportation subcommittee on Tuesday, “The Future of National Surface Transportation Policy” with DOT Secretary Hood testifying. A full Energy and Natural Resources hearing Tuesday on legislation to create a Clean Energy Deployment Administration, i.e., a DOE financing agency. A Senate HELP subcommittee on Tuesday, “Introducing Meaningful Incentives for Safe Workplaces and Meaningful Roles for Victims and Their Families.” As opposed to meaningless. The full HELP Committee meets Tuesday on state health reform initiatives. Also Tuesday, a full Homeland Security Committee hearing, “Cyber Security: Developing a National Strategy.” On Thursday, Judiciary marks up S. 257, Consumer Credit Fairness Act and H.R. 985/S. 448, Free Flow of Information Act.

House Hearings: Monday, an Energy and Commerce subcommittee examines the status of U.S. trade with Cuba and its impact on economic growth. (Can we first focus on Colombia and Panama?) On Tuesday, the full House Education and Labor Committee holds a hearing, “Are OSHA’s Penalties Adequate to Deter Health and Safety Violations?” An Ed&Labor subcommittee follows Thursday with a hearing, “Improving OSHA’s Enhanced Enforcement Program.” It’s a big week for Judiciary: Also Tuesday, the courts subcommittee holds a hearing on retail price maintenance and the Leegin decision. (More background, see NAM’s Legal Beagle entry.) On Thursday, the full committee considers H.R. 1260, the Patent Reform Act. On Wednesday, the full Transportation Committee holds a hearing on infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill. Also Wednesday, the full Science and Technology Committee marks up several bills, including H.R. 1709, the STEM Education Coordination Act. House Small Business on Wednesday holds a hearing, “Climate Change Solutions for Small Businesses and Family Farmers.” The full Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday, a hearing, “Health Reform in the 21st Century: Employer Sponsored Insurance.”

Executive Branch: President Obama speaks this morning to the National Academy of Sciences. Vice President Biden is on his way to Chicago to visit the Serious Materials window plant to promote the Recovery Act. Wednesday evening is the prime time news conference, supposedly NOT commemorating the 100 days. Wednesday primetime is also when the ABC science fiction series, “Lost,” celebrates its 100th episode. Assignment: Compare and contrast.

Economic Reports: The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday, releasing its latest policy statement on Wednesday. Consumer confidence in Tuesday, and advanced GDP estimate Wednesday. For more, see Briefing.com.

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