Dispatch from the Front: The Week of October 26

By October 26, 2009Economy, General

Health care competes with climate change for the Congressional spotlight this week. (Under the public option, is there an individual mandate to buy carbon credits?) Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to make announcements about the bill’s composition and cost, and Speaker Pelosi will talk scheduling. (AP story.) Chairman Barbara Boxer of Environment and Public Works starts three days of hearings on S. 1733, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. She and Sen. John Kerry released the chairman’s mark shortly before midnight Friday.

President Obama travels today to Florida to deliver remarks at Naval Air Station Jacksonville; tonght he’s at a DSCC/DCCC fundraiser in Miami. On Tuesday he heads to Old Dominion University in Norfolk for a rally for gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. On Wednesday the President speaks at Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. On Thursday he meets Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore at the White House, gearing up for a Presidential trip to Asia in November.

The House meets at 12:30 p.m. today and wrestles with 19 bills on suspension. (Honoring Confucius AND John Brown? How…syncretic.) Major bills scheduled for floor action are H.R. 3854, Small Business Financing and Investment Act, the conference report on H.R. 2996, the Interior/Environment appropriations; and a continuing resolution. For more, see the House Majority Leader’s weekly report.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m., and the first vote of the week is Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. on proceeding to H.R. 3548, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act. The Senate also plans action on the Unemployment Insurance Extension Act, the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations, and Military Construction Appropriations. And a continuing resolution so the federal government can remain in business.

For the full list of committee hearings, so to the Congressional Digest page D1222.

Senate Hearings: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing Tuesday on S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Witnesses include Energy Secretary Chu, Interior Secretary Salazar, EPA Administrator Jackson; Transportation Secretary LaHood, and FERC Chairman Wellinghoff. EPW continues its hearings Wednesday and Thursday. (On Wednesday, Brett Vassey, President of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, testifies.) An Agriculture subcommittee on Tuesday reviews federal action on low dairy prices. Senate Commerce on Tuesday conducts oversight of the broadband stimulus programs. Senate Judiciary on Wednesday holds a hearing, “Effective Strategies for Preventing Health Care Fraud.” A Senate Commerce subcommittee on Thursday holds a hearing on reauthorizing NTSB. Also Thursday, the HELP Committee considers “Pensions in Peril,” i.e., retirement during the recession. (Details.)

House Hearings: House Financial Services marks up a slew of financial regulation bills Tuesday, including H.R. 3817, the Investor Protection Act; and the Accountability and Transparency in Rating Agencies Act. A House Transportation subcommittee on Tuesday follows spending on recovery dollars. A House Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday holds a hearing on the Ashcroft v. Iqbal ruling by the Supreme Court, which set higher, reasonable standards of merit for legal claims to be accepted by the court. House Small Business on Wednesday holds a hearing on broadband investment and job creation. House Transportation, the aviation subcommittee, holds a hearing on NEXTGEN and the RTCA Mid-Term Implementation Task Force Report. A House Science committee on Wednesday looks at FDA food safety enforcement; a separate subcommittee on Thursday delves into fusion energy research. On Thursday, Financial Services holds a hearing, “Systemic Regulation, Prudential Matters, Resolution Authority and Securitization.” Education and Labor on Thursday on OSHA’s (very critical) review of Nevada’s Workplace Health and Safety Enforcement Program; critics will use Nevada’s problems to extrapolate to all other state programs. A House Agriculture subcommittee on Thursday peers into the future of next-generation biofuels.

Executive Branch: Vice President Biden is in Ohio today for political fundraisers, with an economic stimulus event with Sen. Sherrod Brown in Cleveland.

Economic Reports: On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller releases its August index of home prices, and the Conference Board releases its consumer confidence index for October. (Boo!) Wednesday, Commerce releases durable goods and new home sales for September. On Thursday, Commerce releases third quarter GDP, and on Friday it’s personal income and spending for September. AP has a full list, and The Washington Post writes, “A wide array of economic data should provide insight into the state of the housing market, consumers, the manufacturing industry and the overall economy.”

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