Dispatch from the Front: The Week of December 6

A lameduck Congress continues to maneuver on extending tax rates and unemployment compensation — a deal is near, supposedly — while the White House pushes the DREAM Act immigration bill, the Defense authorization bill, and START ratification. House Republicans elect committee leadership on Tuesday.

National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler today joins Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and FedEx officials to announce a new partnership under the New Market Exporter Initiative. Engler speaks Friday in Williamsburg, Va., at the Virginia Manufacturers Association’s “2010 Virginia Industry Leadership Forum.” The theme is “Think Globally, Manufacture Locally.”

President Obama travels today to Winston-Salem, N.C., to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Forsyth Technical Community College and discuss workforce issues. In September, the Manufacturing Institute and the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce at Forsyth Tech announced a partnership to train a skilled workforce for biotech and pharmaceutical-related jobs. On Wednesday, the President meets Poland’s president, Bronislaw Komorowski and then conducts a Cabinet meeting. On Thursday, the First Family attend the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, also known in D.C. as the Annual Worst Evening Commute Day.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today with no votes scheduled. At 10 a.m. Tuesday the Senate convenes for the impeachment trial of Judge G. Thomas Porteous. The Defense authorization bill may come up with “don’t ask, don’t tell” being the largest point of contention.

The House convenes at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Majority Leader’s schedule lists 19 measures on the suspensions calendar this week — Happy 2500th Anniversary, Battle of Marathon! — along with the continuing resolution and possible action on the Senate-passed Food Safety Modernization Act, S. 510.

Senate HearingsWednesday — A Senate Banking subcommittee holds a joint hearing with a Homeland Security subcommittee to examine the U.S. capital markets, with testimony from Chairman Schapiro of the SEC and Chairman Gensler of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Senate Judiciary holds a business meeting on various measures, including S. 3675, Small Business Jobs Preservation Act, and nominations, including the controversial judicial nomination of Robert Chatigny to the U.S. Second Circuit.

House Hearings: Tuesday — A House Education and Labor Subcommittee reviews the audit of the Labor Department’s FY10 consolidated financial statements. Wednesday — Committee on Financial Services considers a proposal to increase the offering limit under SEC Regulation A.  The Judiciary Committee continues hearings, “Foreclosed Justice: Causes and Effects of the Foreclosure Crisis.”

Executive Branch: Secretary of State Clinton meets with foreign ministers from Japan and South Korea today on North Korea’s bellicosity.

Judicial Branch: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday hears oral arguments in Thompson v. North American Stainless over the validity of third-party claims under employment discrimination law. The NAM has submitted an amicus brief  in the case (available here). Oral arguments are Wednesday in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, challenging the Arizona law that requires businesses to use the voluntary federal program, E-Verify. The NAM has joined other business groups in filing an amicus brief in the case. (Details.)

Economic Reports: Friday is the big day for economic reports this week, as  the Commerce Department releases data on the October trade balance, federal budget and import prices. Otherwise, there’s  consumer credit on Tuesday, and wholesale trade on Thursday. See also New York Times summary.

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