Dispatch from the Front: The Very Heavy Week of July 26

The House talks about manufacturing this week, works on appropriations bills, and then departs for the August recess. The Senate, still two weeks away from recess, considers imposing limits on political speech with the DISCLOSE Act and takes up a stripped-down “energy bill.” President Obama heads to Michigan on Friday, presumably as part of the White House’s “Recovery Summer,” to promote GM and Chrysler.

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. today and debates the motion to proceed on H.R. 3628, the latest DISCLOSE Act, to chill political speech during the 2010 campaigns. A cloture vote is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. Debate could resume on H.R.5297, the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, and it’s possible the FAA authorization may come to the floor. And then there is the latest “energy bill,” a gussied-up hodge-podge of provisions including a legislative response to the Deepwater Horizon accident, Home Star rebates for energy conservation, and incentives for natural gas-powered trucks.  CQ Politics concludes the Majority Leader is switching the Senate into “campaign mode” this week.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. On Tuesday, among the 25 bills on the suspensions calendar are two that House leadership includes as part of its manufacturing strategy: H.R. 5156, the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act, and H.R. 4692, the National Manufacturing Strategy Act. Also on suspension is H.R.5320, Chairman Waxman’s bill to reauthorize the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund; included are numerous reporting mandates about “endocrine disrupters,” for which the chemical manufacturers will be blamed and probably sued. Major items on the floor that follow are are H.R. 5822, military construction/VA appropriations for FY2011, and the DOT/HUD appropriations, as well as H.R. 4899, the supplemental appropriations to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The goal is to leave for the six-week recess at the end of the week. For more, see the House Majority Leader’s weekly report.

Anticipating the House’s manufacturing focus, National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler today released a video statement (available here) reminding Congress of the NAM’s “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America,” which makes the case for a comprehensive manufacturing strategy.

President Obama travels Wednesday to Edison, New Jersey, to talk about the economy. On Thursday, he speaks on education reform at the National Urban League’s 100th anniversary convention in D.C. On Friday, the President will visit Chrysler and General Motors Plants in Detroit and Hamtramick, Mich. (A trip to Ford’s Chicago assembly plant follows next week, Aug. 5.)

Senate Hearings: Monday — The Senate HELP Committee holds a field hearing in Pittsburgh, “Emergency Response in the Marcellus Shale Region.” Tuesday – Senate Small Business holds a hearing on whether the deepwater drilling moratorium amounts to “a second economic disaster for small business.” The Homeland Security Committee examines “high-risk logistics planning” and DOD supply chain management. An EPW Subcommittee considers the damage to natural resources and wildlife from the Deepwater Horizon accident. The full Judiciary Committee, a hearing, “Exxon Valdez to Deepwater Horizon: Protecting Victims of Major Oil Spills.” Senate Commerce examines consumer online privacy, with the chairmen of the FTC and FCC testifying. An Appropriations subcommittee marks up the FY2011 Labor/HHS spending bill. Wednesday – Senate Homeland Security marks up bills, including H.R. 2868, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act. EPW holds a hearing on protecting America’s water treatment facilities. Senate Banking marks up nominations, including Janet Yellen and Peter Diamond to serve on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. Thursday – Senate Appropriations marks up bills. A Senate HELP subcommittee holds a hearing, “The State of the American Child: The Impact of Federal Policies on Children.” Sounds like a topic for the Senate Budget Committee, too.

House Hearings: Tuesday – The full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hears another update on stimulus spending on infrastructure. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on Gulf Coast tourism in light of the oil spill. House Financial Services marks up bills, including H.R. 4790, the Shareholder Protection Act, requiring shareholder approval of political expenditures. A Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing on the National Broadband Plan and the needs of first responders. The House Budget Committee holds a hearing on the budget implications of closing Yucca Mountain. The Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the FTC’s Bureau of Competition and the DOJ’s Antitrust Division. A Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on federal rulemaking and the regulatory process. The health subcommittee of Energy and Commerce examines implementation of health information technology. Ways & Means, the trade subcommittee, wonders how to enhance the U.S.-EU trade relationship. The full Appropriations Committee marks up the FY2011 Ag, rural development and FDA spending bill. Wednesday –  House Armed Services asks how to harness small business to serve national security cyber needs. A Homeland Security subcommittee reviews the TSA’s management of surface transportation security inspectors. An Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee asks, “Are Superweeds an Outgrowth of USDA Biotech Policy?” Thursday – House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on implementation of Iran sanctions and U.S. businesses. A Natural Resources subcommittee reviews small hydropower projects in the West. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on H.R.5820, the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act to amend TSCA. Here’s the NAM’s statement on the bill’s introduction. An Oversight subcommittee looks at public access to federally funded research.

Economic Reports: Today the June home sales figures are announced. On Tuesday, it’s consumer confidence. Wednesday we get durable goods for June, and the Fed releases its beige book. The most-anticipated report of the week is the second-quarter GDP released Friday by Commerce. For more, see Neil Irwin’s week ahead at The Washington Post.

Executive Branch: Vice President Biden is at Yellowstone today and the Grand Canyon National Park on Tuesday hailing the benefits of stimulus spending. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk speaks Friday in Washington, Pennsylvania, at Allegheny Technologies Inc. The topic is the Obama Administration’s tough enforcement policies on trade. (USTR news release.)

Phew! That’s the longest Dispatch of the year. Upcoming weeks will be shorter, you can be assured.

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