Dispatch from the Front: The Week of October 11

Today is Columbus Day, a federal holiday, and the National Association of Manufacturers is closed.  Congress is on recess until after the elections. President Obama has a heavy week of campaigning and fundraising lined up.

President Obama outlines his transportation infrastructure plans at a White House event this morning, with governors and mayors among the attendees, before the President travels to Miami for a DNC fundraising dinner.  On Tuesday, the President headlines an “America Moving Forward” event with the DNC at George Washington University. On Thursday, the President hosts an MTV youth-oriented town hall meeting on Thursday. The audience is being stacked with supporters. Friday, it’s Wilmington, Saturday it’s Boston, Sunday it’s Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. (Schedule.)

Congress is on recess, save for Senate pro forma sessions Tuesday and Friday.

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in two cases of interest to business. On Tuesday, it’s Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, with the issue being federal preemption in product liability (children’s vaccine) cases. Arguments are Wednesday in Kasten v. Saint Gobain Performance Plastics, determining whether employee grousing amounts to a formal complaint for protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Manufacturing Law Center summary, NAM amicus brief.)

Senate Hearings: Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad continues his string of field hearings in North Dakota on Tuesday, convening a session in Mohall on the next Farm Bill, with small grains the focus. On Friday, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) chairs a Senate Indian Affairs Committee a field hearing in Polson, Mont. on transportation in Indian Country.

Executive Branch: Vice President Biden rolls along the campaign trail this week to Scranton, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, Chicago, Wilmington, and Milwaukee. EPA Administrator Jackson is in China this week for official meetings. U.S. Trade Representative Kirk and Commerce Secretary Locke travel to Tennessee for two days starting on Tuesday in Memphis. After a visit to the Balkans, Secretary of State Clinton meets with European Commission and NATO officials in Brussels on Thursday.

Economic Reports: On Wednesday, Treasury releases the FY2010 federal budget summary. Labor releases the Producer Price Index for September on Thursday, and Commerce releases international trade figures for August. On Friday, Commerce releases retail sales for September and business inventories for August. Labor issues the CPI for September. For more, see Neil Irwin’s column at The Washington Post.

If everything works out, the trapped Chilean miners should see the light of day mid-week. Americans helped in the rescue: The “S” in NASA  stands for “Spelunking!”

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