Dispatch from the Front: The Week of June 8

By June 8, 2009General

Back from his trip to the Middle East and Europe, President Obama today meets with his Cabinet and joins Vice President Biden to announce plans to “ramp up” implementation of the economic stimulus.  The White House and Congress will push health care reform this week, pundits agree. Bondholders try to block Chrysler’s bankruptcy today, sparking another week of debate over industrial policy and automakers. The transition to Digital TV is scheduled for Friday. Why hasn’t anyone told us about this before?

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and then debates H.R.1256, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, i.e., FDA regulation of tobacco, with a cloture motion pending.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. today and for business at 2 p.m., with 23 bills on suspension Monday and Tuesday. Major floor legislation of the week: The conference report on H.R. 2346, the supplemental appropriations bill for raming down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; H.R. 2410, foreign relations authorizations; H.R. 1886, Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act. For the majority leader’s floor schedule for the week, go here.

For a full list of the week’s committee hearings, see the Daily Digest’s schedule.

Senate Hearings: A Senate Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday reviews the role of the oceans in the U.S. economic future, with topics including fisheries and energy. No business witnesses scheduled; it’s government, researchers and a Cousteau. The full Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday marks up Energy and Interior nominees, including Catherine Radford Zoi, assistant DOE secretary for efficiency and renewing. Senate EPW on Tuesday, a hearing, “Scientific Integrity and Transparency Reforms at the EPA,” with Administrator Jackson testifying. On Wednesday, Senate Banking holds a hearing on the impact of federal aid to the domestic auto industry. (Details.) A Commerce subcommittee Wednesday reviews aviation safety and FAA oversight of carriers. On Thursday, a Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing on S. 372, Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. Senate Judiciary on Thursday marks up several bills, including S. 448, the federal media shield; and S. 369, about generic drugs.

House Hearings: A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday holds a hearing on allowance allocations in climate legislation. Witnesses include Thomas Farrell II of the Edison Electric Institute; Rich Wells, Dow’s vice president for energy; Tommy Hodges for the American Trucking Assn.; and David Sokol, chairman of Mid American Energy Holdings Company. (Details.) A separate subcommittee, also Tuesday, a hearing on “green marketing practices.” A House Financial Services subcommittee on Tuesday on regulation of OTC derivatives. A Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday, a hearing on H.R. 1521, forbidding state and local taxes on cell phone services or providers. A Natural Resources subcommittee holds a hearing on drugs and chemicals in the environment and water supplies. On Wednesday, an Education and Labor subcommittee examines single-payer health care. A Science and Technology subcommittee on Wednesday, a hearing on Cyber Security R&D. House Small Business on Wednesday, a hearing on access to capital. House Agriculture on Thursday holds a hearing on climate legislation. A House Education and Labor subcommittee on Thursday reviews H.R.2339, the Family Income to Respond to Significant Transitions Act; and H.R.2460, the Healthy Families Act. (Details.) On Thursday, Financial Services hold a hearing on executive compensation. A subcommittee holds a hearing on H.R.2336, the GREEN (Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods) Act. A House Judiciary subcommittee on Thursday marks up H.R.233, the Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act. A Science and Technology subcommittee on Thursday, “Fixing EPA’s Broken Integrated Risk Information System.” Administrator Jackson testifies. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Thursday on national electrical grid policy. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing Friday, on GM and Chrysler dealership closures.

Executive Branch: The Administration’s climate change envoy, Todd Stern, leads a delegation to the Peoples Republic of China to urge the Communist government to mandate greenhouse gas restrictions. (China Daily story.)

Economic Reports: On Wednesday, Commerce releases figures on the international trade deficit for April, and on Friday’s it’s data on import and export prices. Expect rising oil prices to have an impact. The Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book on Wednesday, and on Thursday retail sales figures are announced. See this Reuters story for more, and the Washington Post also ramps its attention to the week ahead in “A Question Of Sustaining The Momentum.”


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