Dispatch from the Front: The Week of September 13

Welcome back, Congress! Ready to vote on taxes?

President Obama today visits a family in Fairfax, Va. — annual income under $250,000, one assumes — for economic messaging. Later, college athletes gather at the White House. On Tuesday, the President travels to Philadelphia to deliver his second annual back-to-school speech. Wednesday, the Cabinet meets at the White House and the President attends the Hispanic Congressional Caucus awards gala. On Thursday, the President campaigns in Connecticut for Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, the state attorney general. Saturday he speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Institute gala, an event full of political subtext. More on the President’s schedule here.

The Senate convenes at 2:30 p.m. today and moves to the confirmation of Jane Stranch to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Debate resumes on H.R. 5297, the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, with a cloture vote Tuesday at 11 a.m. on the amendment by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) to end the onerous tax reporting requirements (IRS 1099 reporting) in the health care bill. For more, see the Senate Democrats’ schedule.

The House convenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday.  Following nugatory measures on suspension, the House will consider H.R. 4785, the Rural Energy Savings Program Act. Look for two days of hearings by the Ways and Means Committee on China’s currency policies. For more, see the Majority Leader’s schedule for the week.

NAM President John Engler speaks Tuesday at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.

Senate Hearings: Monday – The Senate Commerce Committee holds a field hearing in Grand Forks, N.D., on integrating unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System. Tuesday — Senate Judiciary holds a hearing, “Firearms in Commerce: Assessing the Need for Reform in the Federal Regulatory Process.” Wednesday – Judiciary marks up judicial nominations. Senate HELP Committee marks up S. 3751, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act. The Banking Committee holds a hearing, “Covered Bonds: Potential Uses and Regulatory Issues.” Commerce holds a hearing on the federal role in national rail policy. Thursday – The Senate Budget Committee holds a confirmation hearing on Jacob Lew to serve as OMB director. Senate Judiciary marks up sundry nominations as well as considers S. 3675, the Small Business Job Preservation Act, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s bill about bankruptcies, and S. 3717, to bring the SEC back under the Freedom of Information Act (Dodd-Frank quietly exempted the commission). An Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing, “The Promise of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.” Senate Small Business holds a hearing on the (harsh and unnecessary) economic impact of the Obama Administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling. Senate Banking considers Treasury’s Report on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, with Secretary Geithner testifying. Homeland Security holds its own confirmation hearing on Lew to be OMB director.

House Hearings: Monday – An Education and Labor subcommittee holds a field hearing in Selden, N.Y., on concussions and high school athletes. Tuesday – The Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee examines the salmonella outbreak in eggs. Wednesday – A Financial Services subcommittee gets an update on the housing GSEs. The full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee reviews the Enbridge Pipeline oil spill in Marshall, Mich. Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee holds a hearing on Medicare bidding and durable medical equipment. House Ways & Means opens its hearings on China’s exchange rate policy, including discussions of H.R. 2378, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act. Thursday – Financial Services considers legislative proposals to address the SEC’s new confidentiality provision. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee discusses H.R. 5828, the Universal Service Reform Act. A Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on competition in the evolving digital marketplace. Ways & Means continues it hearings on China’s exchange rate policy with Treasury Secretary Geithner testifying.

Executive Branch: U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk speaks today at the Inaugural Metals Service Center Institute-Brookings Policy Symposium and later addresses the Farmers Union. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu attends dedication ceremonies today at the A1234 Systems lithium-battery facility in Livonia, Mich. The EPA on Tuesday celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. Bill Ruckelshaus returns! The EPA continues its series of public hearings on coal ash regulation, Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday in Chicago. The President’s Export Council holds its first meeting on Thursday.

Economic Reports: Treasury today releases its report on the federal budget in August. The Department of Commerce on Tuesday releases retail sales figure for August as well as business inventories for July. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will report on industrial production and capacity utilization for August. The New York Fed reports regional manufacturing activity for September on Wednesday, and the Philadelphia Fed follows suit on Thursday. Friday, the University of Michigan issues its Consumer Sentiment Index for September.

The last big primary day is Tuesday, with voting in New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, D.C., and Hawaii.

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