Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 18

By January 18, 2010Economy, General

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday. Congress is not in session, and the National Association of Manufacturers is closed.

Health care should dominate the week in Washington, again, with the results of Tuesday’s U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts — it’s Tristam Dalton’s seat! — serving as a referendum on the pending legislation. Or so claim some. The Senate debate on the debt limit may also get interesting.

President Obama on Thursday meets with a delegation from the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the White House to talk about jobs and the economy. On Friday he travels to Lorain County Community College in Elyria for a stop on the White House to Main Street tour.

The Senate convenes at 11 a.m. Tuesday for a pro forma session, and on Wednesday begins debate on H.J.Res. 45, increasing the public debt limits. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has an amendment to end TARP, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) may offer an amendment to block EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. For more, see the Senate Democratic calendar.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m Tuesday, and the Majority Leader’s weekly floor schedule shows just suspensions and several bills to resolve New Mexico-tribal water disputes.

NAM President John Engler testifies Wednesday before the House Science and Technology Committee at a hearing, “America COMPETES: Big Picture Perspectives on the Need for Innovation, Investments in R&D and a Commitment to STEM Education.” On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Technology & Innovation follows with a hearing, “Commerce Department Programs to Support Job Creation and Innovation at Small- and Medium-Sized Manufacturers.”

Senate Hearings: The Senate HELP Committee on Wednesday holds a confirmation hearing on Joshua Gotbaum to be director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Poor guy. The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday holds a hearing on several Commerce Department nominees, including Kevin Wolf to be Assistant Secretary for Export Administration. An Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday considers the magic behind, “How to Save and Create Jobs“; testifying are think tank denizens and government officials, including Gov. Chet Culver of Iowa. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee reviews R&D global warming “priorities and imperatives” at a hearing Thursday, with Energy Secretary Chu testifying. Imperatives! For more hearings, go here.

House Hearings: A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday holds a hearing on the ExxonMobil-XTO merger and impacts on U.S. energy markets. The committee’s oversight panel on Thursday considers crib safety. On Wednesday, a Natural Resources subcommittee looks at H.R. 3820, the Natural Hazards Risk Reduction Act.  The House Budget Committee on Thursday, a hearing, “Perspectives on Long-Term Deficits,” which in this case means the perspectives of union-backed think tanks. House Ways & Means, the trade subcommittee, on Thursday, Japanese and South Korean Barriers to U.S. Auto Imports.”

Executive Branch: Seven Cabinet members are on the agenda (seven!) for The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 78th Winter Meeting starting Wednesday.  On the mayors’ program for the week: the economy, unemployment, green jobs and transportation.

Economic Reports: Commerce releases the Producer Price Index, a measure of wholesale inflation, on Wednesday, which also brings us December housing starts. On Thursday, the Conference Board releases its December index of leading indicators Thursday, and the Philadelphia Fed reports on regional manufacturing. And Canada has its own economic reports, too, you know.

Finally, on Thursday the U.S. Trade Representative hosts a conference, “Jobs on Main Street, Customers Around the World: A Positive Trade Agenda for US Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises” at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. NAM Board Members Roy Paulson of Paulson Manufacturing and Drew Greenblatt of Marlin Steel Wire join an afternoon panel on export promotion.

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