Dispatch from the Front: The Week of May 3

The Senate spends the week on legislation to expand federal regulation of the financial industry and lots more, while the Gulf of Mexico oil spill spreads politically, with Congress holding its first hearing on the issue.

President Obama speaks to the annual meeting of the Business Council on Tuesday. A planned trip to New Jersey Wednesday to talk about the economy was cancelled. Still on is a White House celebration of Cinco de Mayo, so it’s a safe bet immigration will once again be in the week’s news.

President John Engler of the National Association of Manufacturers speaks Tuesday at Managing Automation’s Manufacturing Leadership Summit 2010 in Palm Beach, Fla. On Wednesday, he speaks at the 2010 Arizona Manufacturers’ Council 2010 Manufacturer of the Year Summit and Awards Luncheon.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and continues discussion of S. 3217, the financial regulation bill.

The House convenes at 10 a.m. today for a pro forma session. This week the suspensions celebrate lasers, satellites and Galileo’s telescope. And Mother’s Day. On the floor Wednesday is H.R. 5019, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act. For more, see the House Majority Leader’s schedule.

For the full list of the week’s committee hearings, see The Daily Digest here.

Senate Hearings: Tuesday – Senate Judiciary, the Crime and Drugs Subcommittee, holds a hearing, “Wall Street Fraud and Fiduciary Duties: Can Jail Time Serve as an Adequate Deterrent for Willful Violations?” Senate Finance considers President Obama’s tax on financial institutions to repay TARP, with Treasury Secretary Geithner testifying. Senate HELP examines secondary schools in its continued review of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Wednesday –An EPW subcommittee holds an oversight hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with testimony from the NRC commissioners as well as George Vanderheyden, president of UniStar Nuclear Energy. Senate Energy and Natural Resources marks up the FERC nominees; the committee also holds a hearing on Interior’s five-year planning announcement in light of the oil rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico; Secretary Salazar testifies. Senate Judiciary holds a hearing, “The Increased Importance of the Violence Against Women Act in a Time of Economic Crisis. Thursday — Full EPW considers the Water Resources Development Act, “Jobs and Economic Opportunities.” Senate HELP holds a hearing, “Ensuring Fairness for Older Workers.” Commerce posits, “America Wins when America Competes: Building a High-Tech Workforce.” The Seapower Subcommittee of Armed Services holds a hearing on the Navy’s shipbuilding programs.

House Hearings: Monday – House Agriculture holds a field hearing in Fresno in advance of the 2012 farm bill. Fruits, nuts and vegetables are on the stove, but no Delta smelt. A House Transportation subcommittee holds a field hearing in Miami on intermodal high-speed rail connections. Tuesday – House Agriculture travels to Cheyene, Wyo., for its next farm bill preview, with forest products, dairy, beef and wheat on the range. In Washington, Ed&Labor holds a hearing on “quality teachers and leaders.” Wednesday – A House Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing on the Clean Truck Programs at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. A House Science subcommittee wonders how to mitigate the impact of volcanic ash on aviation. Judiciary researches the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. An Ed&Labor subcommittee reviews H.R. 3721, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. A Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on Electronic Communications Privacy Act reform. Thursday – A Ways & Means subcommittee considers the solvency of state unemployment insurance programs. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The Health Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce holds a hearing on three health care transparency bills, H.R. 4700, H.R. 2249, and H.R. 4803. House Financial Services holds a hearing, “The End of Excess (Part One): Reversing Our Addiction to Debt and Leverage.” By “our,” they don’t mean “federal government.” House Administration holds a hearing on H.R. 5175, the fiendishly acronymic Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections, to limit political speech. Energy and Commerce’s Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee examines the FDA’s food safety responsibilities.

Executive Branch: Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks today at Lockheed Martin’s Navy league Sea-Air-Space Exposition at National Harbor, just south of D.C. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is in Orlando, selling tourism as an industry. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is in Seattle through Wednesday at the U.S.–Association of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean) Economic Ministers Road Show. The road show then heads to Washington. The annual meeting of the Business Council also features Treasury Secretary Geithner and OMB Director Orszag.

Economic Reports: The Commerce Department this morning releases personal income and spending figures for March. The Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for April. On Tuesday, the Realtors announce pending home sales for March, and Commerce releases factory orders. On Thursday, the Labor Department releases first-quarter producitivity figures. Friday, Labor releases the unemployment data for April. For more, see this Marketwatch story, and the WaPo’s Neil Irwin calls it “a gusher of data.”

Elections to watch this week: Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio’s primaries are Tuesday, and the British parliamentary elections are Thursday.


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