Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 4

By January 4, 2010General

President Obama returns to the White House, while Congress makes a brief appearance on Tuesday. Otherwise, the first full week of 2010 opens in Washington, D.C., with terrorism superseding jobs and health care as the top issue for the moment.

President Obama arrives back in Washington after his vacation in Hawaii, with the Christmas Day terrorist attack on the flight into Detroit still driving policy debates. On Tuesday, the President meets with top advisers in homeland security, transportation and intelligence at the White House.

The Senate and House convene at noon Tuesday for pro forma sessions, officially opening the second session of the 111th Congress. The House convenes again on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, January 12. The next date of Senate business is January 19. In the meantime, expect continued jockeying over the separate health care bills. (Relevant USA TODAY story.)

We’ll be looking this week to see whether President Obama renominates Craig Becker, the controversial SEIU counsel and Employee Free Choice Act advocate, to the National Labor Relations Board. The Senate returned Becker’s nomination to the White House on Dec. 24, along with several embattled Justice Department candidates and two nominees to federal district court.

House Hearings: Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) of the House Judiciary Committee chairs a field hearing for today in Detroit, “Legal Issues Relating to Football Head Injuries, Part II,” bound to make headlines because of the firing of Texas Tech’s football coach.  Among the 21 witnesses this afternoon is one manufacturer, Vin Ferrera of Xenith LLC, which makes football helmets. Of the 17 witnesses at the Part I hearing in October, none was a manufacturer.

Senate Hearings: Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) holds his previously postponed Philadelphia field hearing today on the intimidation of criminal witnesses.

Economic Reports: The Institute for Supply Management releases its report on manufacturing for December today. On Tuesday, the Census issues its preliminary report for November, Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, and Orders. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Standards releases the most-watched report of the week, the employment situation for December. For more, see this ABC News preview and Reuters’ story on the week ahead.

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