Dispatch from the Front: The Week of September 20

Recovery Summer comes to a blessed end Wednesday evening with the September equinox. Anxiety Autumn opens with the President talking about the economy and later appealing to the United Nations, the Senate debating the defense authorization, and the House passing the small business lending bill.

President Obama participates in a CNBC townhall event at noon Eastern today.  On Wednesday, the President will hold an event on the Patients’ Bill of Rights and then travel to New York City for the United Nations’ General Assembly and a Democratic fundraiser. On Thursday, President Obama addresses the U.N., does a Clinton Global Initiative event with former President Clinton, and meets with Japanese and Chinese leaders. Friday, the President’s U.N.-related events involve ASEAN leaders. White House schedule here.

The House compresses floor business to allow more campaigning, convening for a pro forma session at 2:30 p.m. today, holding no votes Tuesday, and meeting on Wednesday at 2 p.m. The major floor issue is H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act. Thirty-nine mostly mundane bills populate the suspension calendar, including H.R. 6008, the Corporate Liability and Emergency Accident Notification Act, on the reporting of pipeline accidents. For more see the House Majority Leader’s week ahead and  his statement on the schedule.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. and considers a cloture motion on S.3454, National Defense Authorization Act, with a vote possible on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Senate Majority Leader Reid says he will bring up an amendment to enact the DREAM Act, granting citizenship to illegal aliens who entered the United States as minors and who meet educational or military requirements. The authorization bill could also attract an amendment to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

Senate Hearings: Tuesday – Senate Homeland Security votes on the nomination of Jacob Lew to be OMB Director. Senate Banking holds a hearing, “Investing in Infrastructure: Creating Jobs and Growing the Economy,” with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell testifying. Senate Finance discusses welfare reform, women and poverty. Wednesday – Senate Budget examines the federal response to the economic crisis. Senate Judiciary holds a hearing on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Judiciary considers investigating and prosecuting financial fraud. Banking holds a hearing on reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program. A Commerce subcommittee considers S. 3742, the Data Security and Breach Notification Act. Thursday – Senate Energy and Natural Resources holds a hearing on the Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program and “clean energy technology.” Senate Finance goes to school with “Tax Reform: Lessons from the Tax Reform Act of 1986.” Senate Commerce holds a hearing on the need for a nationwide public safety communications network. Senate Judiciary votes on controversial judicial nominations, including Rhode Island trial lawyer Jack McConnell and Louis Butler of Wisconsin; also marks up S.3767, Food Safety Accountability Act, which is NOT the bigger food safety bill. That’s S. 510, which is apparently stalled.

House Hearings: Tuesday – The oversight subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce holds a hearing on the outbreak of salmonella in eggs. Wednesday – Armed Services’ oversight committee holds a hearing on DOD tuition assistance for distance learning and for-profit colleges. A House Oversight subcommittee holds a hearing, “Made in the USA: Manufacturing Policy, the Defense Industrial Base, and U.S. National Security.” House Science marks up H.R.5866, the Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act, and the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act. A Transportation subcommittee asks what we have learned five years after Hurricane Katrina. The House Budget Committee holds a hearing on Perkins LoansThursday – A Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on a bill to further restrict making credit checks on job applicants, H.R. 3149, the grandiosely named Equal Employment for All Act. The full Education and Labor Committee holds a hearing, “Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act,” the third hearing in a month on the issue. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee considers H.R.6149, the Precious Coins And Bullion Disclosure Act. Glenn Beck’s name will come up. Another subcommittee reviews pipeline safety. A Judiciary subcommittee considers cloud computer and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. A Small Business subcommittee reviews interoperability of public safety radio equipment. The House Administration marks up H.R. 6116, the Fair Elections Now Act, yet another attempt to limit political speech akin to the DISCLOSE Act.

Executive Branch: U.S. Trade Representative Kirk tours the Port of Baltimore and Marlin Steel Wire products today. He speaks at the U.S.-Indian Trade Policy Forum Tuesday, and on Tuesday he meets with Mexican Secretary of Economy, Bruno Ferrari. Let’s talk cross-border trucking (USTR schedule). Energy Secretary Chu is in Vienna as head of the American delegation at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 54th General Conference. Vice President Biden speaks today at the U.S.-Japan Council’s annual conference before heading out on the campaign trail for the work, including events in Ohio, Massachusetts, Maryland and Florida.

Economic Reports: The National Association of Home Builders release the September housing market index today. On Tuesday, Commerce announces August housing starts. On Thursday, Realtors release existing home sales for August. Commerce on Friday releases durable goods for August as well as new home sales. For more, see Neil Irwin’s Washington Post weekly summary, which also reports on the Federal Reserve’s meeting Tuesday.

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