Dispatch from the Front: The Week of December 7

By December 7, 2009General

Health care carries on and on in the Senate. Taxes and trade and financial regulation test the House. President Obama gives a speech on jobs and the economy Tuesday at the Brookings Institution.

The United Nations climate conference opens today in København, but President Obama has postponed his attendance until the Dec. 18 closing so as to broker a deal. He still manages to get to Scandinavia, receiving his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Thursday. (If the media have decreed that Bombay is now Mumbai, why hasn’t Copenhagen become København?) The EPA may announce an endangerment for CO2 finding this week.

The House convenes at 10:30 a.m. today. Major items this week are a bill to extend expiring taxes as well as H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — the financial regulation package. But first, 30 items on the suspension calendar, including bills to extend the Andean Trade Preference Act and the Federal Aviation Administration. The Leader’s floor schedule is here.

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. today, beginning its second week of the health care debate. Major issue of the day is an amendment on federal funding for abortion.

For the full list of the week’s hearings, go here.

Senate Hearings: The energy subcommittee of Energy and Commerce on Tuesday holds a hearing on a slew of bills promoting R&D for alternative fuels, clean technologies, vehicles, small non-road engines, carbon separation and the like. Notable is S. 1617, establishing a Commerce program for revolving loans to small- and medium-sized manufacturers for energy efficiency. On Thursday, the full Energy and Commerce Committee considers grid-scale energy storage. A Banking subcommittee on Wednesday examines jobs creation in the recession. The Commerce Committee on Wednesday considers research parks and all the good things they do. A Finance Committee subcommittee on Wednesday examines exports and economic recovery. The European Affairs subcommittee of Foreign Relations looks at strengthening the transatlantic economy. The Judiciary Committee on Wednesday considers the financial meltdown and prosecuting people who help cause it. Judiciary on Thursday conducts a business meeting on sundry bills, including the old favorite, S. 448, the federal media shield bill.

House Hearings: The House Education & Labor Committee on Tuesday holds a hearing, “Improving Our Competitiveness: Common Core Education Standards.” An Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday asks whether prescription drug prices are rising too fast. On Thursday, the Energy and Environment subcommittee reviews drinking water and coal waste. A House Financial Services subcommittee on Wednesday holds a hearing, “Additional Reforms to the Securities Investor Protection Act.” A Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Wednesday conducts a strategic and economic review of aerospace exports. A Judiciary Subcommittee on Thursday reviews judicial recusals after Caperton v. A.T. Massey, which dealt with conflicts related to campaign contributions. A House Oversight subcommittee on Wednesday, a hearing, “Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in a Global Economy: Current Trends and Future Challenges.” The Science and Technology Committee on Thursday ponders NASA’s future, aerospace workers and the industrial base.

Executive Branch: President Obama meets with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey today at the White House. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis releases the DOL’s regulatory agenda this morning, with the sub-agencies to follow. (The agenda is here.) Meanwhile, attending the Copenhagen big nation donors conference are: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, along with Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren, and Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner.

Judicial Branch: The U.S. Supreme Court this morning hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, created via Sarbanes-Oxley.

Economic Reports: Fed Chairman Bernanke speaks at the Economic Club of Washington in the early afternoon. Commerce reports wholesale inventories on Wednesday. On Thursday, Commerce reports the trade balance for October, and Friday the November retail sales report is due. October business inventories and November import and export prices are also released. (From CNNMoney.com. See also Washington Post’s “Week Ahead.”

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