Dispatch from the Front: The Week of May 4

By May 4, 2009General

Cinco de Mayo meets “Gripe A” this week, and the only thing we can be sure is feverish media coverage.

Foreign policy and finance dominate President Obama’s schedule. He meets with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he meets with President Karzai of Afghanistan and President Zardari of Pakistan. (More from the press briefing.) The finance headlines follow on Thursday, when the results of the stress tests on the 19 major banks are released.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. and moves to S. 896, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act. Legislation to restrict credit card company practices, H.R. 627, is also in the plans for floor action.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. and has usual array of items on the suspension calendar, with the major floor debate of the week being H.R. 1728, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act. (See House Majority Leader’s report.)

For the full schedule of the week’s hearings, see the last Daily Digest.

It’s a busy week at the National Association of Manufacturers. On Wednesday and Thursday, manufacturers will convene in Washington for discussions of the economy and meetings with their members of Congress. The 2009 Manufacturing Summit also features speeches Thursday by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia. On Tuesday, NAM President John Engler participates in a hearing on energy and cap-and-trade sponsored by the House Republican’s American Energy Solutions Group. Later that day he is a panelist at a Thomas B. Fordham Institute discussion on international education standards.

Senate Hearings: The full Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday holds a roundtable discussion, or so it’s billed, “Increasing Access to Health Care Coverage.” Many, many witnesses. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday ponders the global implications of a warming Arctic. An Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday reviews innovate ways to reuse carbon dioxide, perhaps even non-geologically. Senate Energy and Natural Resources on Wednesday marks up legislation on siting interstate electric transmission facilities, energy finance, and nuclear energy. On Thursday, the full committee holds a hearing on draft legislation on cybersecurity and critical electricity infrastructure. Also Thursday, the energy subcommittee considers net metering and distributed generation. The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday holds a hearing, “Auctioning under Cap and Trade: Design, Participation and Distribution of Revenues.” The HELP Committee on Thursday holds a confirmation hearing on FDA commissioner nominee Margaret Hamburg. Senate Judiciary on Thursday holds a rescheduled mark-up Thursday, including S. 257, the Consumer Credit Fairness Act, and S.448, the Free Flow of Information Act.

House Hearings: A House Ed & Labor subcommittee on Tuesday, a hearing, “New Innovations and Best Practices under the Workforce Investment Act.” A House Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday holds a rescheduled hearing, “Federal Arbitration Act: Is the Credit Card Industry Using It To Quash Legal Claims?” An Agriculture subcommittee on Wednesday looks at land use and renewable biomass in a renewable fuel standards. The full Armed Services Committee Wednesday  holds a hearing on DOD acquisition reform. The full Small Business Committee on Wednesday considers reauthorization of the SBA’s Entrepreneurial Development Programs. A House Homeland Security Committee Thursday holds a hearing, “Implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative at Land and Sea Ports.” House Ways & Means on Wednesday chats with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on health care. On Thursday, Ways & Means reviews the financial status of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. (Details)

Economic Reports: Monday are March construction-spending figures. Thursday there are reports on  retail sales, consumer debt, and productivity and labor costs.  April unemployment figures on Friday.

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