Dispatch from the Front: The Week of February 1

By February 1, 2010General

A new era of unprecedented fiscal responsibility dawns in Washington this morning as the Office of Management and Budget releases President Obama’s $3.8 trillion Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The time for talk then continues as Cabinet members trek to Capitol Hill to outline their agency’s budget requests. Senate Democrats are expected to unveil “jobs” legislation, and health care legislation is still being discussed behind the scenes, in camera, sub rosa.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today, with a cloture vote on the controversial nomination of Patricia Smith to be the Department of Labor’s solicitor general set for 5 p.m.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The major legislative item of the week is H.J.Res. 45, increasing the debt limit, returned with amendments from the Senate. Also on the floor is H.R. 4061, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act. For more, see the House Majority Leader’s floor schedule.

House Hearings: The House Budget committee on Tuesday holds a hearing on the President’s FY11 budget, with OMB Director Orszag testifying. House Science, the space subcommittee, on Wednesday a hearing on NASA’s challenges. House Education and Labor on Wednesday hears from Labor Secretary Solis on DOL’s legislative agenda. A Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday reviews the Citizens United v. FEC ruling, pondering the possibility of “campaign finance reform.” House Armed Services on Wednesday considers the DOD budget, with Secretary Gates testifying; on Thursday, it’s the quadrennial defense review in the sights. Ways & Means reviews the president’s budget Wednesday, and Treasury Secretary Geithner is there; later that today, it’s OMB Director Orszag. Also Wednesday, an Appropriations subcommittee looks at STEM education; there’s a Part II on Thursday, and a House Science Committee tackles undergrad STEM education on Thursday. Appropriations’ transportation subcommittee looks at DOT’s budget on Wednesday. The full Appropriations Committee considers the Economic Development Administration Wednesday. A House Science subcommittee digs into geoengineering on Thursday.

Senate Hearings: Armed Services on Tuesday considers FY11 DOD authorization, 2011 quadrennial defense review, 2011 missile defense review. Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing Tuesday on the President’s budget, with Treasury Secretary Geithner testifying; on Wednesday, it’s health care budgets, with HHS Secretary Sebelius testifying; another budget hearing follows Thursday with OMB Director Orszag speaking. The Rules Committee reviews Citizens United ruling at an invidiously entitled hearing, “Corporate America vs. The Voter: Examining the Supreme Court’s Decision to Allow Unlimited Corporate Spending in Elections.” Senate Budget Committee Tuesday, a hearing on the President’s budget, with OMB Director Orszag testifying; on Thursday, Geithner’s up. Also Tuesday, Senate Banking thinks about “Prohibiting Certain High-Risk Investment Activities by Banks and Bank Holding Companies,” with Paul Volcker testifying; a follow-up hearing is Thursday. The Senate HELP Committee on Tuesday afternoon holds a hearing on the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board, with the markup scheduled for Thursday. (See Shopfloor.org blog coverage on Becker.) Homeland Security on Thursday considers foreign corruption and money laundering. Energy and Natural Resources on Thursday, a hearing on the DOE budget, with Secretary Chu testifying. A Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee on Thursday considers current science on public exposures to toxic chemicals, gearing up for Toxic Substance Control Act reauthorization.

Economic Reports: The big report of the week is January employment to be released Friday, with joblessness expected to stay stuck at 10 percent. Dow-Jones is succinct about the rest: “The government will issue figures on December personal income and spending as well as construction spending [today].Also out that day is the Institute for Supply Management’s report on manufacturing activity in January; its report on the services sector is due Wednesday. On Thursday, the government reports on fourth-quarter productivity and December factory orders.” MarketWatch lists the events, as well.

Illinois starts the primary season on Tuesday, with most attention being paid to the governor and U.S. Senate races for both parties.

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