Dispatch from the Front: The Week of November 22

Congress is again away, only to return lame-duckedly next Monday, Nov. 29.

President Obama and Vice President Biden travel to Kokomo, Ind., on Tuesday for a White House to Main Street event, because “with the help of the Recovery Act and the Administration’s auto restructuring plan, Kokomo is on the rebound today and unemployment has dropped by nearly 8 percentage points since mid-2009.” On Wednesday, the President pardons a turkey.

Thursday is Thanksgiving, and the National Association of Manufacturers will be closed Thursday and Friday.

The Senate reconvenes on Monday,  Nov. 29, at 2 p.m. and will return to the debate on S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. (No pro forma sessions are scheduled this week. The Senate’s consecutive three-days absence means the President could make recess appointments.)  The House reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday.

Executive Branch: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar travels to Louisiana today to meet with people whose livelihoods have been harmed by the capricious Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium and continued permit delays. The meeting with the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition takes place in Houma, La., at Gulf Island Fabrication, a manufacturer.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission meets Wednesday to vote on the final rule for a public safety complaint database.

Economic Reports: The big news of the week comes Tuesday, when the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s Nov. 2-3 meeting where the decision was made to engage in further quantitative easing. The Fed’s report will also contain updated economic forecasts. Also Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases the revised third quarter GDP figures, and the Realtors announce October existing home sales.  On Wednesday, Commerce releases durable goods for October, as well as reports on personal income, spending and new home sales for last month. AP’s week ahead. See also Washington Post’s Neil Irwin.

For all the attention paid to this year’s post-Thanksgiving retail sales, this year the real Black Friday — in the traditional doom-laden sense — is Dec. 31, the day before the return of the death tax and higher income tax rates unless Congress acts to extends the 2001 and 2003 levels.

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