Dispatch from the Front: The Week of Jan. 31

Foreign policy, crisis management and the unrest in Egypt shove jobs and competitiveness off the Washington, D.C., stage this week. The National Prayer Breakfast is scheduled for Thursday.

President Obama presides over a Cabinet meeting Tuesday and on Wednesday travels to Penn State for remarks about innovation, energy efficient buildings, and the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster. On Thursday, he delivers remarks at the Prayer Breakfast. More on the President’s schedule.

The House is recessed until 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today. On this week’s floor agenda is the Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill. Senate Majority Leader Reid comments.

Senate Hearings: TUESDAY — Budget Committee holds hearings on U.S. economic outlook, 2011-2021. Energy & Natural Resources examines the American Medical Isotopes Production Act. A Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee looks at government contracting, including defense contracting. Judiciary holds a hearing on foreclosure mediation programs, asking if bankruptcy courts can limit homeowner and investor losses, i.e., “cram down.” WEDNESDAY — Budget Committee examines tax reform and fiscal responsibility. Senate EPW holds oversight hearing on public health and drinking water. Judiciary debates the constitutionality of the 2010 federal health care law. THURSDAY — Budget Committee holds a hearing on challenges facing economic recovery. Energy & Natural Resources reviews energy and oil market outlook. An EPW subcommittee assesses effectiveness of U.S. chemical safety laws. Finance Committee examines status of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. Judiciary Committee marks up S. 23, the patent reform legislation, and judicial nominations.

Executive Branch: Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, Austan Goolsbee and Gene Sperling hold an event at the EEOB to announce “Startup America” to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. HHS Secretary Sebelius and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are at GWU today to announce new dietary guidelines for all Americans; they’re hoping to transition quickly to a post-salt regime. Acting USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse leads a business mission to Peru, taking advantage of tariffs lowered through the U.S.-Peru FTA. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk meets Wednesday with members of the Technology CEO Council. (USTR’s weekly press schedule.)

Economic Reports: It’s a heavy week of economic reports, building up to the Department of Labor’s release Friday of nonfarm payrolls and unemployment data for January. Unemployment is expected to rise from the current 9.4 percent. On Monday, the Commerce Department releases personal income and spending data from December, and the Chicago Purchasing Managers issue the monthly manufacturing index. On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management releases its latest Manufacturing Index. On Thursday, Commerce announces factory orders. For more, see Neil Irwin’s Washington Post column.

The Washington Auto Show continues through Sunday.

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