Dispatch from the Front: The Week of June 1

By June 1, 2009General

June is bankrupting all over. Congress returns to Washington after a week’s recess with the economy, domestic auto industry, cap-and-trade and the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court the top issues of the week. Cabinet members testify on the Hill and/or travel to cities that manufacture autos to mark the 100 days of the stimulus bill and use the term “green jobs” repeatedly. President Obama talks about GM’s bankruptcy this morning — and Chrysler’s exit therefrom — and then departs for the Middle East, winding up the week at Normandy.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and then debates S.146, the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act. A vote on the supplemental appropriations bill’s conference report is possible this week.

The House convenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday and has a raft of suspensions on the calendar. Major items of the week are the conference report on H.R. 2346, the supplemental appropriations; H.R. 2200, Transportation Security Administration authorization; and H.R. 626, Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act. (Consider the latter a stalking horse for paid family leave generally.) For more, see the Majority Leader’s weekly report.

The President travels to Saudi Arabia for Wednesday meetings, Thursday to Cairo. On Friday he’s in Dresden and visits Buchenwald, Saturday in Paris and he commemorates D-Day on Saturday.

Senate Hearings: On Tuesday, an Appropriations subcommittee reviews the President’s budget request for the SEC and the CFTC, with their respective chairmen, Mary Schapiro and Gary Gensler, testifying. Senate EPW on Tuesday holds a confirmation hearing on Victor Mendez, nominated to be FAA administrator. Education Secretary Arne Duncan testifies Wednesday before an Appropriations subcommittee on his agency budget. Secretary Ken Salazar testifies to a separate subcommittee down the way. (Appropriations Committee hearing schedule for the week.) Senate Banking on Wednesday holds a hearing, “A Fresh Start for New Starts: Housing, Transportation, and Community Development.” Senate Commerce Committee meets Wednesday,  “GM and Chrysler Dealership Closures: Protecting Dealers And Consumers.” On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee holds a hearing, “Regulatory Reform and Derivatives Markets.” Another Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on the USDA, and Secretary Vilsack testifies. On Thursday, Energy and Natural Resources marks up pending energy legislation. Foreign Relations considers U.S.-China cooperation of climate change. On Thursday, the full Senate Judiciary Committee marks up bills including S.417, the States Secret Protection Act; S.257, the Consumer Credit Fairness Act; H.R.985 and S.448, the Free Flow of Information Act. The week’s hearings schedule is here.

House Hearings: A House Ag subcommittee on Wednesday reviews the future of forest policy. (Details) An Appropriations subcommittee considers the Education Department, with Education Secretary Duncan testifying. A second subcommittee meets on DOE, with Energy Secretary Chu testifying. The full House Committee hears from Fed Chairman Bernanke on Wednesday on challenges facing the economy. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday considers a discussion draft, the Food Safety Enhancement Act, seeking to do for food what the CPSIA did for children’s products. (Hearing details.) A Judiciary subcommittee Wednesday, “Pay to Delay: Are Patent Settlements That Delay Generic Drug Market Entry Anticompetitive? House Science and Technology Wednesday begins the markup of H.R. 2407, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. House Small Business holds a hearing on health reform.

On Thursday, a House Ag subcommittee considers the implications of the CFTC v. Zelener case dealing with foreign exchange markets. On Thursday, Transportation Secretary LaHood testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the DOT. House Ed and Labor on Thursday, a hearing, “Building on What Works at Charter Schools.” Also Thursday, an Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on commercial sales of military technologies.” A separate subcommittee Thursday examines the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. (Details.) Also Thursday, a Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on H.R.1508, the Sunshine in Litigation Act , relating to protective orders, sealing of cases, disclosures of discovery information in civil actions. A Natural Resources subcommittee on Thursday, a hearing on unconventional fuels, shale gas. (Natural gas seems conventional to us.) A Science subcommittee hearing on Thursday, a hearing, “A New Direction for Federal Oil Spill R&D.” A separate subcommittee marks up H.R 2569, on surface transportation R&D and technology transfer. A Small Business subcommittee on Thursday, the topic is the SBIR and STTR. House Transportation marks up H.R.2093, the Clean Coastal Environment and Public Health Act; the Sustainable Watershed Planning Act; and the Maritime Workforce Development Act. (Details.)

Executive Branch: The economy and auto manufacturing are the focus as eight Cabinet members and senior officials traverse Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. The Washington Post  covers the highlights, as does this AP story. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is in China until tomorrow. (Here’s his latest speech). Today Commerce Secretary Gary Locke meets with Mexican Economy Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Mateos. Keep on truckin’, gentlemen. 

Economic Reports: ISM’s national manufacturing report for May is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. Eastern today. (Reuters preview.) On Friday, Labor releases the May employment figures. For the week’s full schedule of release, see this CNN story.

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