Dispatch from the Front: The Week of December 14

By December 14, 2009General

The Senate slogs on with health care, while the House takes first whack at the DOD appropriations bill, which becomes the vehicle for extending expiring laws and perhaps a new jobs initiative.  The House hopes to adjourn for the holiday break this week.

President Obama meets with bankers today fat cats or big dogs? — to pressure them to increase lending. The rest of the week builds up to his appearance Friday in København.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. today and the major item of the week is the must-do Department of Defense FY2010 appropriations bill, H.R. 3326, to which all sorts of legislative and spending ornaments may be hung. But first, 15 bills appear on the suspension calendar, including H.R. 4284 the politically complicated Andean Trades Preferences Extension Act. Also H.R. 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009. For the week’s floor schedule, go here. Speaker Pelosi is also scheduled to lead a congressional delegation to the climate talks in Denmark; Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) represents the critics.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. with health care continuing to dominate. Early this week the CBO is expected to release its scoring of Senate Majority Leader Reid’s latest plan, which includes a Medicare buy-in and quasi-para-semi-public option-lite. CQ Politics reports that the heavy schedule and weekend sessions have put a crimp in Senators’ fundraising. Meanwhile, the clock ticks down toward the expiration of the death tax, and the Senate may not get to it before recessing.

Manufacturing Czarina: Senate Commerce on Tuesday holds a hearing on nomination of Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale to be Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services at Commerce. For the full list of the week’s committee hearings, see the Daily Digest.

Senate Hearings: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday reviews S. 2052, Nuclear Energy Research Initiative Improvement Act, and S. 2812, DOE demonstration of modular nuclear reactor designs. (Details.) Senate Commerce on Tuesday holds hearing on nominees for FTC, NHTSA, maritime posts; a committee markup follows Thursday. Senate Banking on Thursday votes on another four-year term for Chairman Bernanke to head Federal Reserve. Small Business Committee on Thursday marks up S. 2862, Small Business Export Enhancement and International Trade Act, and S. 2869, Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act. (Details.) Homeland Security Committee on Thursday, a hearing, “Safeguarding the American Dream: Prospects for Our Economic Future and Proposals to Secure It.”

House Hearings: Committee on Energy and Commerce, the communications subcommittee, on Tuesday holds a hearing on H.R. 3125, Radio Spectrum Inventory Act; and H.R. 3019, Spectrum Relocation Improvement Act.  House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday holds a hearing, “Covered Bonds: Prospects for a U.S. Market Going Forward.” A Judiciary Subcommittee on Wednesday considers H.R. 4115, to restore notice pleadings in federal civil suits.

Executive Branch: Energy Secretary Chu is in Copenhagen today, where he announces a $350 million international clean technology program.

Economic Reports: Commerce releases the Producer Price Index on Tuesday and the Consumer Price Index on Wednesday. Wednesday also sees housing starts. The Fed releases industrial-production data Tuesday, and the New York Fed issues its regional manufacturing report, followed by Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing report on Thursday. See The Washington Post’s “THIS WEEK, Dec. 14-18.”

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