Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 17 + 1

We’ve updated Monday’s Dispatch from the Front in light of new developments and the shortened workweek, adding the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of manufacturing-related cases, as well.

The House debate on health care and the visit of President Hu Jintao of China to the United States dominate this holiday-shortened week from a policy, political and media standpoint.

Jay Timmons begins his official duties as President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

On Wednesday, the President welcomes President Hu to the White House in a state arrival ceremony. (White House briefing.) The two presidents, one democratically elected, hold a bilateral meeting and conduct a joint press conference. A State Dinner glitterates the evening. On Friday, President Obama welcomes mayors to the White House and travels to Schenectady, N.Y., for a manufacturing-oriented visit to General Electric. (President’s schedule.) The week also features reaction to the President’s triangulating op-ed on regulatory policy in today’s Wall Street Journal, as well as speculation about the State of the Union address, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 25.

The House convenes at 2 p.m. today and begins a civil debate on H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. A vote is expected Wednesday. On Thursday, the House considers H.Res. 9, instructing House committees to report legislation to replace the 2010 health care law. For more, see the Majority Leader’s report.

The Senate is not in session this week. It returns at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25.

House Hearings: Wednesday — House Rules holds a hearing on a new resolution, entitled, “To reduce spending through a transition to non-security spending at fiscal year 2008 levels.” The House Foreign Affairs Committee holds a full committee briefing, “Assessing China’s Behavior and its Impact on U.S. Interests.” House Judiciary holds an organizational meeting. Thursday: House Ways & Means holds a full committee hearing on “the costs imposed on families, employers, and the economy at large by the current structure of the Federal income tax.”  According to Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), this is the first of a series of hearings on fundamental tax reform. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing, “Medical Liability Reform – Cutting Costs, Spurring Investment, Creating Jobs.”

Executive Branch: The FCC meets today and is expected to approve the NBC-Comcast merger. The annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which opens Wednesday, (agenda) is the premier speaking venue for Administration officials this week, featuring Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Chu, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. The USTR public schedule includes numerous meetings of interest to manufacturers.

Judicial Branch: The U.S. Supreme today hears oral arguments in two cases in which the federal government seeks to use the “states secret” privilege to avoid divulging information on its cancellation of defense contracts. The consolidated cases are General Dynamics Corp. v. U.S.  (09-1298) and Boeing Co. v. U.S. (09-1302). (Scotusblog preview) On Wednesday, the Supreme Court hears arguments in FCC v. AT&T, dealing with Freedom of Information Act protections for corporations.  The NAM has filed an amicus brief in the case, summarized here.

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