Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 10

The President balances a response to the Tucson shootings and a focus on foreign policy this week.  The Senate is on recess, and the House has canceled legislative business.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama lead a moment of prayer at 11 a.m. this morning in remembrance of the victims of the Tucson shootings. He then meets with French President Sarkozy in the White House for a discussions and a working lunch. The President has postponed a planned trip to the GE plant in Schenectady and his schedule is otherwise in flux.

House leadership has cleared the week’s schedule of legislative action following the shooting rampage in Tucson that killed six and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) gravely injured. This was originally going to be the week during which the House would debate H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. The House is not in session Thursday and Friday to accommodate the Republican policy retreat. Check back at the Majority Leader’s website for updates.

The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Jay Timmons, executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, speaks Thursday at the Export-Import Bank’s launch of the Global Access for Small Business initiative. Also participating: Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Eximbank Chairman Fred Hochberg, the SBA’s Karen Mills and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber.

House Hearings: House Ways & Means holds an organizational meeting Wednesday. Also Wednesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee holds a hearing, “The United Nations: Urgent Problems that Need Congressional Action.”

Executive Branch: Defense Secretary Gates is traveling to China, Japan and South Korea through Thursday. Secretary of State Clinton makes stops in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar this week. (Briefing) Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack speaks to the Farm Bureau in Atlanta today. Vice President Biden travels to Pakistan. The White House is also previewing Cabinet addresses in advance of China President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington next week: On Wednesday, Treasury Geithner will delivers remarks at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he will discuss the U.S. economic relationship with China. Thursday, Commerce Secretary Locke addresses the U.S. – China Business Council (details). On Friday, Secretary Clinton will deliver a major address at the State Department that presents the Administration’s broad vision of U.S. – China relations in the 21st Century.

Judicial Branch: The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments this week on cases of interest to manufacturers. Today, the case is Matrixx Initiatives, Inc., v. Saracusano, regarding securities class-action suits based on a company’s failure to disclosure non-material information. (NAM’s Manufacturing Law Center entry.) On Tuesday, the court hears two cases in tandem that could vastly expand the scope of product liability suits against foreign manufacturers in state courts on the thinnest of jurisdictional connections. The cases are J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro (Law Center entry), and Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations v. Brown (Law Center entry).

Economic Reports: From CNBC: Wholesale trade for November is reported Tuesday, import prices for December are Wednesday and international trade for November is Thursday. The Fed’s beige book is released Wednesday afternoon.There is also inflation data, when producer prices are reported Thursday and consumer prices are reported Friday. Friday’s data also include industrial production, consumer sentiment and business inventories. See also Associated Press summary, Neil Irwin’s column in The Washington Post.

The North American International Auto Show opens in Detroit with press previews today, industry previews on Wednesday and the public show on Saturday.

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