Dispatch from the Front: The Week of July 19

Tax extenders and extending unemployment will be the top issues again in another steamy week in Washington as Congress maneuvers toward its August recess. Action is also planned on the supplemental appropriations bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senate Judiciary votes out the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Obama appears in the  Rose Garden this morning to knock critics of extending unemployment benefits. He meets with British Prime Minister Cameron on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he signs the Wall Street reform bill at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. (The White House’s week ahead.)

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. today. Starting Tuesday, the suspensions calendar includes substantive measures of interest to manufacturers: H.R. 5716, Safer Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Technology R&D Act; H.R. 2693, the Federal Oil Spill Research Program Act; and H.R. 4380, U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act, which is the latest term for the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill. Major floor items that follow are H.R. 1264, the Multiple Peril Insurance Act, and H.R. 4213, the Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act. For more, see the Majority Leader’s report.

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. and returns to H.R. 5297, Small Business Lending Fund Act. On Tuesday, Carte Goodwin is sworn in as the new Senator from West Virginia, and then the Senate considers H.R. 4213, the tax extenders bill with extended unemployment and homebuyer’s tax credit.  Senate Majority Leader Reid is trying to conclude business so he can move the greenhouse gases/energy-regulation and subsidy bill next week. Also, the aerospace industry is making a big push for action on the supplemental spending bill.  (More from The Hill.)

For more on the Congressional program and the full committee hearing schedule, see The Daily Digest.

Senate Hearings: Tuesday —  A Banking subcommittee reviews international cooperation on financial regulations. Senate Judiciary votes on nominations, including Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. Wednesday —  Energy and Natural Resources marks up legislation related to vehicle technologies, solar, nuclear energy and energy research. Senate HELP Committee holds a hearing on rare pediatric diseases, new treatments and cures. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gives the semiannual monetary policy report to Senate Banking. A Commerce subcommittee considers effective clean up and restoration in the Gulf. Senate Finance gets an update on TARP. The full Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing, “Safe Port Act Reauthorization: Securing our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure.” Thursday – A HELP subcommittee holds a hearing on workplace safety and worker protections at BP. Senate EPW holds a hearing, “Oversight: EPA’s Proposal for Federal Implementation Plans to Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone.”

House Hearings: Tuesday — A Transportation subcommittee considers the status of U.S.-flagged vessels in U.S.-foreign trade. A Science subcommittee holds a hearing, “Building a Science of Economics for the Real World.” (But on the other hand …) A Financial Services subcommittee commits oversight of the SEC. The oversight subcommittee of Energy and Commerce looks at Interior’s role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, with Secretary Salazar and his two predecessors testifying. A Ways & Means subcommittee reviews the adoption of health IT. A Financial Services subcommittee considers the state of U.S. coins and currency. Wednesday – A Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing on highway bridges and inspections. Judiciary calls witnesses on “Ensuring Justice for Victims of the Gulf Coast Oil Disaster.” House Foreign Affairs reviews the joint strategic plan for protecting U.S. intellectual property overseas. House Ed & Labor is pushing through H.R. 5663, the Miner Safety and Health Act, already holding a markup; the bill also makes major reviews to the OSH Act.  A Transportation subcommittee a hearing on pipeline safety public awareness. Thursday –  The Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight subcommittee holds a hearing on direct-to-consumer genetic testing. (We’re guessing class-action lawsuits are pending. Well, what do you know.)  House Financial Services hears the semiannual monetary report from Chairman Bernanke. House Foreign Affairs holds a hearing a foreign trans-shipment of dangerous technologies. Ways & Means looks at transfer pricing issues in the global economy. A Judiciary subcommittee marks the 20th anniversary of the ADA and affirms commitment.

Executive Branch: Following a stop in Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Seoul Wednesday with Secretary of Defense Gates ; she then travels to Vietnam. Government officials from some 20 countries are participating in the first Clean Energy Ministerial, hosted by Energy Secretary Chu at the Ronald Reagan Building, today and Tuesday. Commerce Secretary Locke attends, but speakers do not include manufacturers.

Economic Reports: New York Times: “Data this week will include housing starts for June (Tuesday); and weekly jobless claims, existing home sales for June and leading economic indicators for June (Thursday).” See also Neil Irwin’s weekly update at The Washington Post. In the hard copy of the Post, just flip past all the classified intelligence secrets to page A11.

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