Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 25

By January 25, 2010General

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Wednesday. The President’s remarks might just bear on Congressional leadership’s plans to try to salvage health-care legislation.

The Republican response will be delivered by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who later addresses the House Republican policy retreat, which runs Thursday through Saturday in Baltimore. President Obama speaks to the GOP on Friday, his first presidential visit to Charm City.

President Obama today welcomes the Los Angeles Lakers to the White House. The President and Vice President Biden travel to the Tampa Bay area Thursday, a rare joint appearance outside of Washington, with speculation being that they will announce funding for a high-speed rail line.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and continues debate on H.J.Res. 45, increasing the public debt limit. Issue of the week: Will Ben Bernanke be reconfirmed as Fed chairman? The Washington Post reports populist ire is softening. Right. It’s no time to wallow in the ire.

The House convenes a light week at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. On Wednesday, there’s an Idaho wilderness water bill (H.R. 4474) and H.R. 3726, to establish the Castle Nugent Historical Site. No, not Ted’s mansion in Michigan, it’s an old Danish farm at the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more, see the Majority Leader’s floor schedule.

For the full schedule of this week’s hearings, see The Daily Digest.

Senate Hearings: All hearings we note this week take place on Thursday. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing, “Solar Energy Technology and Clean Energy Jobs,” with Interior Secretary Salazar testifying. Senate Budget examines CBO’s budget and economic outlook, FY2011-2020. Senate Judiciary marks up nominations and bills, including S. 1624, the Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act, and S. 1749, the Cell Phones Contraband Act. (That’s cell phones in federal prisons, not DOT’s campaign to ban cell phones in cars.) An Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on the Commerce Department’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program funded by the stimulus bill; Commerce Secretary Locke testifies.

House Hearing: On Monday, a House Natural Resources Committee subcommittee holds a field hearing in Los Angeles, “Perspectives on California Water Supply: Challenges and Opportunities.”  The Aviation Subcommittee of House Transportation on Wednesday considers the reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board; there’s also a full committee markup session.  House Rules on Wednesday considers legislation to cap credit card rates at 16 percent. House Oversight on Wednesday, a hearing, “Factors Affecting Efforts to Limit Payments to AIG Counterparties.” Treasury Secretary Geithner testifies. House Budget on Wednesday will review CBO’s budget and economic outlook. The House Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday continues its review of the America COMPETES Act, holding a hearing on the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). (Details.)

Economic Reports: On Wednesday, the Fed makes a rate-setting announcement. Thursday, we get January durable goods figures. On Friday, Commerce issues a report on fourth quarter 2009 GDP, with some predicting 4.5 percent growth — or more! On housing: The Realtors report December existing-home sales on Monday, and Commerce announces new home sales on Wednesday. For more, see The Washington Post’s “This Week.”

The Washington Auto Show kicks off formally on Wednesday at the D.C. Convention Center. The week starts this afternoon with the Green Car Summit on Capitol Hill and public policy/media presentations Tuesday.

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