Dispatch from the Front: The Week of July 13

By July 13, 2009General

All eyes turn to the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning for the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. A cast of thousands testifies.

President Obama is back from Europe and Ghana, with health care and the economy continuing to dominate his agenda. Organized labor leaders come to the White House today to talk about those topics, as well, even pushing a second stimulus. (Perhaps “shovel ready” really meant digging a deeper hole.)

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. today, for business at 2 p.m., and dispenses with suspensions before moving later in the week to the energy and water appropriations bill as well as  H.R. 3170, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. For more, see the House Majority Leader’s weekly floor schedule.

The Senate convenes at 11:30 a.m. and considers S.1390, the FY2010 Defense Authorization. At 4:30 p.m. today the Senate will debate the confirmation of Robert M. Groves to be Director of the Census.

For a full list of committee hearings for the week, see the latest Congressional Digest entry.

Senate Hearings: The Senate HELP Committee continues the markup at 2 p.m. Monday of The Affordable Health Choices Act (a bill title that reminds us of Voltaire’s remark about the Holy Roman Empire). Senate Banking on Tuesday modestly ponders, “Creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency: A Cornerstone of America’s New Economic Foundation.” Senate Energy and Natural Resources holds a hearing Tuesday on S. 796, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act, and S.140, the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Act; Interior Secretary Salazar and Phillips Baker of the National Mining Association testify. EPW continues its global ambitions, a full committee hearing Tuesday morning, “Economic Opportunities for Agriculture, Forestry Communities, and Others in Reducing Global Warming Pollution“; in the afternoon, it’s “Transportation’s Role in Climate Change and Reducing Greenhouse Gases“; Thursday it’s “Ensuring and Enhancing U.S. Competitiveness while Moving Toward a Clean Economy.” Senate Commerce on Wednesday considers FCC nominees Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Baker. Homeland Security and Government Affairs on Wednesday “reevaluates” the REAL ID Act, with Secretary Napolitano and Gov. Douglas of Vermont testifying. Senate Budget considers the long-term budget outlook on Thursday. A Senate Commerce subcommittee on Thursday cogitates on competition in the health care marketplace. On Thursday, the HELP Committee’s employment and safety subcommittee holds a hearing, “Modernizing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to Help Workers and Employers Meet the Changing Demands of a Global Market.”

House Hearings: In an unusual case of original jurisdiction on policy issues, the House Rules Committee holds a hearing this afternoon on H.R. 1549, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Acct. On Tuesday, a House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on the SEC and financial regulatory reform, with SEC Chairman Schapiro testifying. A Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday considers “Biologics and Biosimilars: Balancing Incentives for Innovation.” A Science and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on wind and solar R&D. House Financial Services on Wednesday gets the banking industry’s perspectives on the Obama Administration’s financial regulatory reform proposals. House Small Business on Wednesday, a hearing on the tax provisions in the stimulus bill that benefited small business. On Thursday, House Agriculture holds a hearing on food safety issues. House Budget on Thursday considers “Budgeting for Nuclear Waste Management.” A Financial Services subcommittee reviews consumer protection, the Federal Reserve, and regulatory restructuring. Then the full committee holds a hearing “Community and Consumer Advocates’ Perspectives on the Obama Administration’s Financial Regulatory Reform Proposals.” A Small Business subcommittee looks at the highway bill Thursday. The highway and transit subcommittee of House Transportation considers long-term surface transportation authorization and economic recovery. On Friday, the full Financial Services gets industry perspectives on financial regulatory reform.

Executive Branch: Treasury Secretary Geithner is traveling to the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and France. He speaks Tuesday in Jeddah.

Economic Reports: Fox News summarizes: “The Producer Price Index, out Tuesday, is expected to climb 0.8%, compared with 0.2% in May, and the Consumer Price Index, out Wednesday, is seen up 0.6%, compared with 0.1% last month. The government also reports on June retail sales Tuesday and industrial production Wednesday. A government report Friday is expected to show lower housing starts in June but an increase in building permits. The National Association of Home Builders issues its July housing market index Thursday.” More from AP.

UPDATE (10 a.m.): President Obama is in Warren, Michigan, talking about the economy Tuesday and then throwing out the first pitch at the MLB All-Star game. On Thursday, he campaigns for Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey. (Details.)

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