Dispatch from the Front: The Week of December 20

The 111th Congress adjourns, probably, and President Obama heads to Hawaii during the week of Christmas. The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday votes on imposing anti-innovation net neutrality regulations on the Internet. Also Tuesday, the Census Bureau releases preliminary 2010 populations figures used to determine congressional reapportionment.

The National Association of Manufacturers is closed on Friday, Christmas Eve.

The House convenes at 10 a.m. Tuesday with the week’s essential item of business being the FY2011 continuing resolution to keep the federal government running like a well-oiled machine through March 4, 2011. Also on the schedule is final passage of H.R. 5116, America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, enthusiastically endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers. The House is likely to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act, after the Senate rebooted it on Sunday.

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. today and resumes debate on the START arms control treaty with Russia, with a cloture vote scheduled for Tuesday and possible final vote Thursday. The Senate will perforce act on the continuing resolution, and it may also consider H.R. 847, which reopens the 9/11 Compensation Fund and creates another system of health care for 9/11 responders. It’s conceivable that the Senate votes on H.R. 6517, the Omnibus Trade Act, but best not to get your hopes up. Look also for a package of Executive Branch nominations to be confirmed in the final gasps of the session.

Economic Reports: From The New York Times: “Data will include the final gross domestic product for the third quarter and existing home sales for November (Wednesday); and weekly jobless claims, personal income and spending for November, durable goods for November, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer confidence index for December, and new home sales for November (Thursday).” The Times missed this important projection, however: Overnight, America’s ravening federal debt will swallow the moon briefly, warning the 112th Congress to mend its profligate ways.

The White House has not released President Obama’s schedule for the week. He is expected to depart for a Christmas vacation in Hawaii as soon as Congress adjourns.

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