Dispatch from the Front: The Week of August 2

The Senate debates the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court before leaving for the August recess, the House is already gone, and the President talks to union leaders before touring a Ford plant in Chicago.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and debates H.R. 1586, now the legislative vehicle for sending federal money to states, including $10 billion for teachers’ jobs and $16 billion for Medicaid funding. As a “pay for,” the bill raises taxes on foreign earnings of businesses. (See Hill story.) A cloture vote is scheduled for this evening. Debate on the Kagan nomination begins late Tuesday or Wednesday, and Senate Majority Leader Reid also wants action on an “energy” bill and the small business loan legislation. (See Reid remarks.)

President Obama heads to Atlanta today to address the Disabled Veterans of America. On Tuesday, he speaks at a White House forum for young political leaders from Africa. On Wednesday he addresses the AFL-CIO’s executive council in Washington, and on Thursday he tours Ford’s Torrance Avenue plant in Chicago before celebrating his birthday and attending political fundraisers. (Schedule.)

Senate Hearings: Tuesday — The Senate Budget Committee receives a status report on the U.S. economy. A Senate EPW subcommittee holds a hearing on environmental factors that might cause autism. After the thimerosal claims were disproved, what’s next? Senate Banking marks up S. 1619, the Livable Communities Act, to establish a new HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities and spend federal dollars to direct local planning efforts. If only the dollars were sustainable, too. A Homeland Security subcommittee wonders about “Transforming Government Through Innovative Tools and Technology.” Wednesday – Senate Agriculture holds a hearing on promoting ag exports. The Senate EPW Committee holds an oversight hearing on the use of oil dispersants after the Deepwater Horizon accident. The Senate HELP Committee holds a hearing, “For-Profit Schools: The Student Recruitment Experience.” Somehow this year for-profit schools became a bête noire. Thursday – The Senate Banking Committee, economic policy subcommittee, holds a hearing on President Obama’s manufacturing agenda. For a full list of the week’s committee hearings, see The Daily Digest.

Economic Reports: The Institute for Supply Management announces its June manufacturing index today. The Commerce Department releases personal income and spending, as well as factory orders, for June on Tuesday. On Friday, the Labor Department releases the June unemployment figures. For more, see Neil Irwin’s Washington Post column, update from New York Times.

Michigan, Kansas and Missouri holds primaries on Tuesday, and Tennessee voters cast ballots Thursday.

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