Dispatch from the Front: The Week of September 27

The House draws the most attention in Washington in this very busy week, acting on scores of bills — including a Chinese currency measure and the continuing resolution to keep government operating — before heading home to campaign. A vote to forestall the higher tax rates in 2011 is unlikely. The Senate concentrates on a bill to combat “outsourcing” by raising taxes on businesses.

President Obama this afternoon signs the small business financing bill, H.R. 5297, in an East Room ceremony. The President then departs town for economic events and to campaign, meeting with a family Tuesday in Albuquerque and campaigning at a University of Wisconsin rally in Madison. On Wednesday he campaigns in Des Moines and meets with a family, and then it’s on to Richmond, Va.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today and debates S. 3816, the Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act, which embraces permanent tax increases on businesses with foreign operations to pay for a temporary payroll tax holiday. A cloture vote is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. (NAM’s letter in opposition.) A floor vote is possible on S.J.Res. 39, Sen. Mike Enzi’s resolution disapproving the rule governing grandfathered health plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The House convenes at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and has 63 (!) items on the suspensions calendar, including H.R. 4072, the AMERICA Works Act, an NAM-supported measure that gives federal priority to workforce training programs “that provide a national industry-recognized and portable credential, certificate, or degree.” Also, H.R.6160, Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act.

According to the Majority Leader’s schedule, House votes are expected Wednesday on H.R. 847, James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, H.R. 2378, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, and H.R. 3081, the continuing appropriations bill. And then, as Woody Guthrie sang, so long, it’s been good to know you.

For a full list of the week’s committee hearings, see the Daily Digest.

Senate Hearings: Tuesday— Senate Environment and Public Works holds an infrastructure-related hearing, “Innovative Project Finance.” Senate Judiciary considers honest services fraud in a hearing, “Restoring Key Tools to Combat Fraud and Corruption After the Supreme Court’s Skilling Decision.” Senate Budget considers the outlook for economic and fiscal policy, with CBO Director Elmendorf testifying. A Commerce subcommittee holds an oversight hearing on the NHTSA, examining the highway safety provisions of SAFETEA-LU. A separate Commerce subcommittee reviews the San Bruno pipeline explosion. Wednesday – A Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee holds a hearing on the Propane Education and Research Council and National Oilheat Research Alliance. The Energy Subcommittee of Energy and Natural Resources holds a hearing on S. 3521, the Rare Earths Supply Technology and Resources Transformation Act. Thursday – Senate Banking considers implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation and consumer protection bill, with Fed Chairman Bernanke testifying (in Elizabeth Warren’s stead?). HELP Committee asks itself, “Federal Investment in For-Profit Education: Are Students Succeeding?” EPW reviews the Water Resources Development Act and all the wonders it would perform. Judiciary marks up nominations and S. 3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.

House Hearings: Tuesday – A Judiciary subcommittee considers “reining in overcriminalization.” Wednesday – House Transportation holds a hearing on, “Recovery Act transportation and infrastructure projects.” House Science holds a hearing, “Averting the Storm: How Investments in Science Will Secure the Competitiveness and Economic Future of the U.S.,” with Norm Augustine and Craig Barrett testifying.  House Foreign Affairs marks up the Cuban trade and travel bill, H.R. 4645. A Transportation subcommittee continues to examine U.S.-flagged vessels in U.S. foreign trade. An Oversight subcommittee holds a hearing on neuroscience R&D. An Armed Services subcommittee looks into DOD’s small business contracting. Thursday – A Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing, “on the impact of “green infrastructure” on water quality.” A Science subcommittee looks at standards for health IT. The full House Oversight Committee reviews recent medicine recalls, while a subcommittee again poses the question, “Are Superweeds an Outgrowth of USDA Biotech Policy?

Executive Branch: EPA Administrator Jackson and Interior Secretary Salazar testify in Washington today at the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which continues meeting Tuesday (agenda). Energy Secretary Steven Chu is in Philadelphia to mark the stimulus-funded creation of the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster, with PPG and Bayer MaterialScience participating. Salazar speaks Thursday at the Woodrow Wilson Center on the Obama Administration’s energy policies, including the drilling moratorium.

Economic Reports: The Conference Board’s consumer confidence report for September comes out Tuesday. On Thursday, we get the final GDP figures for the second quarter. Friday is the big day with reports on personal income and spending for August, and the ISM manufacturing index for September. Also Friday: “[Federal] regulators in Washington will hold the first meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to begin discussing measures to rein in risks that could pose dangers to the overall financial system. In addition, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will begin its initial rulemakings regarding derivatives under the Dodd-Frank legislation.”

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