Dispatch from the Front: The Week of December 13

Congress works on tax extensions and a one-year continuing resolution to fund the federal government, trying to adjourn by the end of the week. It’s a moving target, that adjournment date. President Obama meets with corporate CEOs on Wednesday.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today with debate resuming on H.R. 4853, the vehicle for the tax bill. A 3 p.m. cloture vote — known in the parlance as a “key test vote” — is scheduled on the Reid-McConnell amendment No. 4753, which contains the substance of the compromise. The current continuing resolution expires Friday, hence the need to act this week on H.R. 3082, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, with the substance of S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The House holds a pro forma session today and convenes at 12:30 Tuesday for various measures on suspension. The tax debate and continuing resolution should occupy the week. For the week’s schedule, see the Majority Leader’s report.

President Obama today signs into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act at the Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington, D.C. Later, the President welcomes the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers to town for a service project at a D.C. Boys and Girls Club. On Wednesday, the President convenes a session with CEOs from larger companies, trying to persuade them to invest the $2 trillion or so on the balance sheets.

It’s a light week for committee hearings, with few of relevance to manufacturers. For the full list, see the Daily Digest, Congressional Record.

Senate Hearings:  Tuesday — Banking Committee considers the nomination of Joseph A. Smith, Jr., of North Carolina, to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  Foreign Relations marks up numerous measures and nominations, including S. 1633, to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards, and ratification of the  U.N. Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

House HearingsWednesday — Committee on Agriculture,  Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, reviews provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill relating to position limits. Judiciary Committee continues hearing, “Foreclosed Justice: Causes and Effects of the Foreclosure Crisis.” Thursday — Judiciary holds a hearing on the Espionage Act and the Legal and Constitutional Issues Raised by WikiLeaks.

Executive Branch: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Quebec for a meeting of the North American foreign ministers. Larry Summers gives his last speech as chairman of the National Economic Council at the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute today. On Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk co-chair the 21st U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting in Washington. On Friday, Ambassador Kirk will attend the Transatlantic Economic Council meeting  in Washington, chaired by EU Trade Minister Karel De Gucht. (USTR’s weekly schedule.)

Economic Reports: On Tuesday, reports are issued for PPI, retail sales and October’s business inventories. Wednesday, it’s CPI, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, and the Fed’s  industrial production figures for November. For more, see The New York Times’ report.

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