Dispatch from the Front: The Week of April 19

The week in Congress should be dominated by Senate debate on the federal financial regulation bill, while the House debate on Iran sanctions may draw some attention. Earth Day is Thursday, and we join in wishing everyone a Happy Eyjafjallajökull!

President Obama travels to Los Angeles today for political fundraisers. Back at the White House on Wednesday, he meets with Senate leadership and members of the Judiciary Committee to discuss the looming Supreme Court vacancy. (Why all the political spin? Because the vacancy is looming!) The President and First Lady take a break in Asheville, N.C., starting Friday. No ash disruptions flying to Asheville.

Top speech of the week: Secretary of Defense addresses Business Executives for National Security on Tuesday, laying out the Administration’s strategy for modernizing the U.S. export control system. The NAM’s “Blueprint for Fundamental Reform” on export controls is available here.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. and debates the nomination of Lael Brainard to be Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, with a cloture vote scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Then it’s on to financial regulation, legislation to punish Wall Street and remove all risk from the U.S. economy. The NAM is engaged on several fronts, especially the necessary use of OTC derivatives.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. After sating on suspensions, the floor debate for the week looks to be the motion to go conference on H.R. 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act. Also, H.R. 157, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act. For more, see the House Majority Leader’s report.

It’s a heavy week of committee hearings. For the full list, see the latest Daily Digest starting here.

Senate Hearings: Monday – Senate HELP Committee holds a field hearing in Charlotte, N.C., on innovation in education. Tuesday – Armed Services reviews ballistic missile defense programs. HELP committee considers “Unjustified Insurance Premiums Protection.” Energy and Commerce considers carbon capture and sequestration legislation, including S. 1856 and s. 1134. Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on the President’s proposed fee (tax? charge? tithe?) on financial institutions to recover TARP spending. Wednesday: A full Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on combating cybercrime and identity theft. An Appropriations subcommittee considers FY2011 missile defense programs. The Small Business Committee reviews SBA’s budget. Senate Commerce considers “Securing the Nation’s Rail and Other Surface Transportation Networks.” Thursday – The HELP Committee continues its hearing on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, focusing on the needs of the “whole student.” An Appropriations subcommittee reviews NASA’s budget. A Commerce subcommittee submerses itself in ocean acidification. Senate Banking holds a hearing, “China’s Exchange Rate Policy and Trade Imbalances.” The Aging Committee looks at the National Broadband Plan. Indian Affairs ponders energy development and draft legislation, “Indian Energy Promotion and Parity Act.” Friday — The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs investigations subcommittee holds a hearing, “Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: The Role of Credit Rating Agencies.

House Hearings: Tuesday – A House Transportation Committee holds a field hearing in Chicago, “High-Speed Rail Grants Awarded Under the Recovery Act.” A House Oversight subcommittee indicates its prejudgment in a rescheduled hearing entitled, “Nuclear Power’s Federal Loan Guarantees: The Next Million Dollar Bailout?” Financial Services considers the report of the Lehman bankruptcy examiner and related public policy issues. Wednesday – A Science subcommittee marks up legislation about NIST programs. A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing, “Corporate Governance and Shareholder Empowerment.” (Probably something along these lines.)  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee on HHS budgets. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee talks about the National Broadband Plan and deploying service to the “last mile.” House Agriculture considers U.S. agriculture policy in advance of the 2012 Farm Bill. Is it that time of the decade again? The Aviation Subcommittee of House Transportation holds a hearing on NextGen planning and interagency cooperation. Thursday – A Judiciary subcommittee reviews the Americans with Disabilities Act in the digital age. An Ed&Labor subcommittee considers H.R.4855, the Work-Life Balance Award Act. A Ways & Means subcommittee considers education and training as part of TANF. A Transportation subcommittee goes over hazardous materials special permits and approvals. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee considers “The Environment and Human Health: The Role of HHS.” An Agriculture subcommittee considers creating an exchange to trade movie futures.

Executive Branch: Energy Secretary Chu addresses the nuclear power advocates of the Building and Construction Trades Department’s National Legislative Conference this morning. U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk meets Paramount Pictures execs this afternoon, followed by a meeting with the Brazilian ambasssador. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hosts the meeting of G20 labor and employment ministers in Washington Tuesday and Wednesday.

Economic Reports: The Conference Board releases its index of leading indicators for March today. Thursday it’s existing-home sales, and the Producer Price Index. Friday, it’s new-home sales. Data on March durable goods are also announced Friday. The Seattle Times notes earning reports from Boeing and Microsoft, and Fox Business observes: “The early effects of the health-care overhaul will be on display next week, when makers of drugs and medical devices and health insurers start reporting first-quarter results. Many health-care companies previously issued 2010 forecasts that excluded the impact of reform.” See also Neil Irwin’s “This Week” column.

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