Dispatch from the Front: The Week of April 12

Congress returns from a two-week break, and a nuclear safety summit will block off much of downtown Washingtøn. Given what happened over the recess, hot topics should be Supreme Court nominees, net neutrality, health care and charging fees for carry-on bags on airplanes.

Summits? You want summits? The National Association of Manufacturers’ 2010 Manufacturing Summit brings hundreds of NAM members to Washington starting Wednesday to discuss policy and meet with their members of Congress. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) speaks Thursday morning.

President Obama attends the nuclear safety summit, with an impressive roster of world leaders, today and Tuesday. Today includes a meeting with President Hu Jintao of China. On Thursday, the President speaks at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to explain the downsizing of NASA.

First Lady Michelle Obama travels to Mexico City Tuesday through Thursday. ¿Cómo se dice “mutual” en español?

The House convenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, with several substantive measures on the suspension calendar Wednesday, including H.R. 4954, recourse under patent law for persons who suffer competitive injury as a result of false markings; and H.R. 3125, the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act. Later in the week, the House will debate H.R. 4715, the Clean Estuaries Act.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and debates H.R.4851, the Continuing Extension Act, to extend unemployment, COBRA subsidies and the like. Cloture vote at 5:30 p.m. on motion to proceed. Financial regulation legislation to eliminate all risk is also on the agenda. To keep further track of the week’s schedule, see the Democrats’ calendar.

House HearingsWednesday: A House Transportation Committee holds a hearing, “Using Innovative Financing to Deliver Highway and Transit Projects.” House Ed&Labor considers “How Data Can Be Used to Inform Educational Outcomes.” Ways & Means holds a full committee hearing on energy tax incentives and the “green job” economy. Thursday: House Armed Services holds a full committee hearing on the Independent Panel’s assessment of the Quadrennial Defense Review. A Foreign Affairs subcommittee wonders about “Combating Climate Change in Africa.” A Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing on a proposed Water Resources Development Act. An Appropriations subcommittee reviews DHS Cyber Security Programs. The Strategic Forces Subcommittee of Armed Services reviews the ballistic missile defense program.

Senate Hearings: Tuesday: Senate HELP Committee holds a hearing on Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) reauthorization, “School Turnarounds.” Wednesday: The Seapower Subcommittee of Armed Services holds a hearing on Navy shipbuilding programs. Senate Judiciary holds an oversight hearing on the U.S. Department of Justice, with Attorney General Holder testifying. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Education Department’s budget and “education jobs crisis.” A separate subcommittee looks at the CPSC’s budget, with Chairman Tenenbaum testifying. Senate EPW considers “Opportunities to Improve Transportation Safety.” Senate Finance considers “Using Unemployment Insurance to Help Americans Get Back to Work.” (Here’s an interesting point: “33 states out of money to fund unemployment benefits.”) The Senate Commerce Committee reviews the National Broadband Plan, with FCC Chairman Genachowski testifying.  Thursday: Senate Banking reviews HUD’s budget and legislative proposals, and Secretary Donovan is a witness. The HELP Committee continues to review ESEA reauthorization, this time focusing on “teachers and leaders.” Senate Judiciary holds a full committee markup on nominations and legislation, including S. 1624, the Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act, and S. 3111, the Faster FOIA Act. A Senate Armed Services subcommittee considers Army modernization. Friday: Judiciary could report out judicial nominees, including the controversial Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit.

Executive Branch: With all the foreign leaders in D.C., there are oodles of bilateral meetings with U.S. officials, including Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton and Commerce Secretary Locke. Among President Obama’s many one on ones is a meeting with German Chancellor Merkel on Tuesday. The Consumer Product Safety Commission meets Thursday on rulemaking to guide creation of a public database of complaints about manufacturers. (Hugh Hewitt calls it the database that ate American business.) U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk speaks Friday in Dallas at the World Trade Council.

Economic Reports: From CNBC: “Economic reports in the coming week include international trade and import prices Tuesday. The NFIB small business survey is also released that day. On Wednesday, there’s CPI, business inventories, and the Fed’s Beige Book, in addition to retail sales. Thursday’s data includes weekly jobless claims, the Empire State survey, Philadelphia Fed survey, industrial production, and the Treasury’s international capital flow data. The National Association of Home Builders survey is released Thursday. On Friday, there are housing starts and consumer sentiment.” See also Neil Irwin’s “This Week” column in The Washington Post.

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