Dispatch from the Front: The Week of April 5

Congress is out for the week, cherry blossoms continue to bloom, and around here the big news is sports-related: Donovan McNab is the Redskins quarterback; it’s opening day of baseball season at Nationals Park, and in Indianapolis, the NCAA basketball finals.

President Obama starts his week with the White House Easter egg roll and throwing out the first pitch for the undefeated Washington Nationals. The President departs Wednesday evening for Prague, meeting with Russian President Medvedev to sign a strategic arms agreement. Also on the schedule is a formal dinner with heads of state and government from 11 former captive nations of Eastern and Central Europe. No more recess appointments before Congress reconvenes.

The Senate reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday, April 12, and debates H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act (or is it the Extended Continuation Act?), which extends COBRA, unemployment compensation, etc.  The House reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 13.

Congressional Hearings: A couple of interest for the business community. The Senate HELP Committee holds a field hearing in Morrisville, Pa., Tuesday, “Partnering to Prepare: Expanding Access to High Quality Early Childhood Education.” House Education and Labor holds a field hearing Thursday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, “Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization: A Comprehensive Approach to Ensuring Student Success.” Rep. Grace Napalitano (D-CA) and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) hold field hearings of the Natural Resources Committee in Arizona about the Grand Canyon, Colorado River and Buffelgrass.

Executive Branch: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner travels to India today for economic discussions. He starts in Delhi on Tuesday with meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranob Mukherjee. Also on the trip is Federal Reserve Vice President Donald Kohn. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Japan this week, with U.S. beef exports a priority topic. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is in Chicago through Tuesday, promoting small business exports and talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The National Labor Relations Board gains two new members this week: SEIU counsel Craig Becker and Buffalo labor lawyer Mark Pearce, named via recess appointment much to the business community’s chagrin.

Economic Reports: A light week. The Institution of Supply Management’s Non-Manufacturing Index is due today, and the National Association of Realtors releases its pending home sales index for February. Minutes from the March 16 meeting of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee are released Tuesday. See also Neil Irwin, Washington Post. And just after Secretary Geithner departs, The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers on Thursday releases car sales figures for the year that ended March 31. Sales are UP

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