Dispatch from the Front: The Week of September 14

By September 14, 2009General

President Obama delivers a speech on the economy and financial regulation today at New York City’s Federal Hall, coinciding with the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse. On Tuesday, he visits the Lordstown, Ohio, GM plant and then speaks at the annual AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh (a week ahead of the G-20 conference in town). Health care is tops on the agenda at the labor speech, but given the decision to slap tariffs on Chinese tires and China’s retaliation against U.S. auto parts and chickens, we’ll be watching for the President’s comments on trade. Ditto with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s White House visit on Wednesday.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. today, for legislative business at 2 p.m., and clears its plate of sundry suspensions. On the floor schedule for later in the week are H.R. 3246, the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act, and H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. For the full week’s schedule, see the Majority Leader’s report.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. and continues to debate H.R. 3288, the transportation, housing and urban development appropriations.

For the full schedule of committee hearings, see the last Daily Digest.

Senate Hearings: The Senate Homeland Security Committee today holds a hearing on protecting industry against cyber attacks. Also today, the labor subcommittee of Appropriations considers the health effects of cell phones. (Appropriations?) Senate Finance on Tuesday, “Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Where Do We Go From Here?” A Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday reviews options from the Human Space Flight Plans Committee. Judiciary on Thursday continues to mark up the federal media shield bill, S. 448, and S. 369, Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act. Also Thursday, a Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on S. 1551, the Liability for Aiding and Abetting Securities Violations Act, i.e., the bill to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Stoneridge v. Scientific Atlanta. Energy and Natural Resources on Tuesday explores potential costs and price volatility in the energy sector of cap-and-trade. On Thursday, the committee considers the economic effects of global climate change legislation. Homeland Security, an ad hoc subcommittee, reviews transparency and accessibility of contracting databases on Thursday.

House Hearings: House Judiciary on Tuesday holds a subcommittee hearing, “Mandatory Binding Arbitration – Is it Fair and Voluntary.” (Our answer: Mostly. Trial lawyers’ answer: NEVER!) House Natural Resources on Wednesday and Thursday holds hearings on H.R. 3534, consolidating federal minerals and leasing oversight. A House Oversight subcommittee on Thursday reviews the bureaucracy of private health insurance. An Armed Services subcommittee on Thursday DOD acquisitions and management of its industrial base. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee an oversight hearing on the FCC Thursday. The full Agriculture Committee on Thursday looks at Treasury’s legislation to regulate over-the-counter derivatives. A Transportation subcommittee monitors small-business and minority contracting. A Science subcommittee talks about formulating an action plan to limit harmful algal blooms. On Friday, an Ed & Labor subcommittee holds a field hearing in Flint, Mich., on dual high school and college enrollment programs.

Executive Branch: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Babbitt speak this morning at DOT on the Next-Gen air transportation system. Energy Secretary Chu is in Vienna this week for the 53rd IAEA General Conference.

Economic Reports: Dow-Jones: “The government releases the Producer Price Index, which measures wholesale inflation, on Tuesday and the Consumer Price Index, a measure of retail inflation, on Wednesday. The government also will report on August retail sales and July business inventories Tuesday. Data on industrial production in that month are due Wednesday. A day later, statistics on August building permits and housing starts are likely to show an increase in both, although they remain at very low levels. The New York and Philadelphia Feds report on regional manufacturing conditions Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.” More from CNNMoney.

Finally, Jay Leno debuts tonight at 10 p.m. on NBC, another seismic shift in American culture. We’ll watch, but only if George Gobel is on.


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