Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 17

The House debate on health care and the visit of President Hu Jintao of China to the United States dominate the 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) this week.

Today is a federal holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. NAM offices are closed.

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 Thursday 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 preparation and speculation about the upcoming State of the Union address, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 25.

The House convenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday 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 — 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 President and Administration officials  today participate in Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorations. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson attend a prayer breakfast in Washington sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network. 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.

Economic Reports: The New York Fed releases its manufacturing survey for New York State on Tuesday.  The Seattle Times summarizes the rest of the week: “And it’s a big week for reports on the residential real-estate market. Tuesday, the National Association of Home Builders releases its housing-market index for January; Wednesday the Commerce Department reports on December housing starts; and Thursday the National Association of Realtors releases figures on existing-home sales for December. The Conference Board also releases its December index of leading economic indicators Thursday.”

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