Dispatch from the Front: The Week of June 28

What was shaping up to be a monumental policy week in Washington will become a week of memorializing following the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), the longest-serving member of Congress in the Republic’s history. Uncertainty grows over final Senate passage of H.R. 4173, the financial regulation bill. Confirmation hearings begin for Elena Kagan to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The National Association of Manufacturers today released a new policy document, “A Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America.” NAM President John Engler is highlighting the report this morning in a two-hour appearance on CNBC’s Squawkbox.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and considers a motion to proceed to H.R.5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act, and U.S. federal nominees.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. The week’s suspension calendar includes the aviation trust fund reauthorization and H.R. 5503, to increase and make retroactive liability for damages from oil spills from offshore platforms. Other major items of the week are the conference report on H.R. 4173, the financial regulation bill now being called the Dodd-Frank Act, and H.R. 4899, the supplemental appropriations bill. For the full House floor schedule, see the Majority Leader’s report.

President Obama meets with Senators on Tuesday to promote legislation to raise the cost of energy and limit carbon dioxide and other gases. He then welcomes King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to the White House. On Wednesday, the President holds a townhall meeting in Racine, Wisc., on the economy. More on the President’s schedule.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan to be U.S. Supreme Court justice begin today at 12:30 p.m. For a list of the week’s committee hearings, see the most recent Daily Digest starting here. The schedule was prepared before Sen. Byrd’s death and is subject to change.

Senate Hearings: Tuesday — Senate HELP holds a hearing, “Examining the Continuing Needs of Workers and Communities Affected by 9/11,” the numerals being the denatured description of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans in 2001. Wednesday —  Senate Agriculture holds a hearing on U.S. farm supply, first of a four-part series of hearings. The housing subcommittee on Senate Banking considers “green housing,” which means energy efficiency, not exterior paint.  The Commerce Committee holds a hearing, “The Deepwater Horizon Tragedy: Holding Industry Accountable.” Thursday – A Senate HELP subcommittee reviews workplace safety and worker protections at BP. A Commerce subcommittee considers “protecting youths in an online world.” Foreign Relations hears from Treasury Secretary Geithner during a hearing entitled, “Navigating a Turbulent Global Economy – Implications for the United States.”

House Hearings: Monday – House Agriculture holds a field hearing in Fayetteville, N.C., on agriculture policy in advance of the 2012 Farm Bill. A House Education and Labor subcommittee holds a field hearing in Middletown, Conn., on the Kleen Energy Power Plant explosion. Tuesday – A Natural Resources subcommittee looks at reorganizing the Minerals Management Service in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon accident. A House Science subcommittee investigates polar weather satellites and earth observations. House Armed Services, the readiness subcommittee, asks the rhetorical question: “Wind Farms: Compatible with Military Readiness?” A House Science subcommittee previews “21st Century Biology,” hearing from university researchers. A Transportation subcommittee, “The Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines: Regulated vs. Unregulated Pipelines.” Wednesday –  House Agriculture holds a business meeting to to consider H.R. 4645, to ease travel restrictions and other sanctions against the Communist dictatorship of Cuba.  An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on legislation to respond to the BP oil spill and preventing future oil well blowouts; Interior Secretary Salazar testifies. A Natural Resources subcommittee considers H.R. 3534, establishing an Office of Federal Energy and Minerals Leasing; Secretary Salazar testifies. The relevant subcommittee of House Transportation reviews the Federal Maritime Commission’s examination of vessel capacity. A Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing on 100 percent passenger cargo screening. Thursday – A House Science subcommittee considers Smart Grid architecture and standards. House Education and Labor holds a hearing on H.R. 5504, the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act. House Transportation marks up many bills, including the Oil Spill Accountability and Environmental Protection Act and H.R. 5604, the Surface Transportation Savings Act.

Executive Branch: President Obama today will sign a presidential memorandum committing the federal government to auctioning off 500MHz of federal and commercial spectrum for wireless services. Vice President Biden visits the headquarters of GE Appliances & Lighting in Louisville, Ky., to promote stimulus projects and tax credits. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk heads the U.S. delegation to Manila for presidential inauguration of Benigno S. Aquino III.

Economic Reports: The major report of the week is June employment figures to be  released Friday. From MarketWatch: “On Tuesday morning, the Conference Board will release its Consumer Confidence Index, which has so far this year been rising for three months in a row… Friday will bring the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing composite index, which tracks the rate of orders, production, backlogs, inventories, prices and other factors. ” See also Neil Irwin’s weekly update.

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