Dispatch from the Front: The Week of February 28

Congress and the President maneuver toward a temporary extension of federal spending before Friday’s expiration of the current continuing resolution. Cabinet members are on the Hill defending their agency budgets. Unrest continues in Libya, while in Wisconsin budget turmoil roils on.

President Obama meets with governors at the White House today and then with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. On Thursday, he welcomes President Calderón of Mexico for bilateral discussions. Finally, the White House schedule avers, “On Friday, the President will travel to Miami, Florida to discuss his plan for winning the future. While in Miami, the President will also attend a DSCC fundraiser.”

The House convenes at 2 p.m. today. Major items on the floor schedule this week are the new continuing resolution, H.R.662, the Surface Transportation Extension Act, and H.R. 4, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act. See. the Majority Leader’s schedule for more.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. for a reading of Washington’s Farewell Address. The Senate then begins consideration of S. 23, Patent Reform Act, and judicial nominations.

House Hearings: Monday – A House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on reforming the Administrative Procedures Act to promote economic growth. Tuesday – An Appropriations subcommittee contemplates major management challenges at the Department of Interior. The House Foreign Affairs Committee holds a hearing, “Assessing U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities and Needs Amidst Economic Challenges,” with Secretary of State Clinton testifying. In America, we say “amid,” you know.  House Ed&Workforce considers the impact of education regulations on students. Armed Services reviews the Navy’s FY2012 budget. A House Judiciary subcommittee commits oversight of the Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. The Natural Resources Committee reviews the impact of the Administration’s “wild lands order” on jobs and economic growth. An Appropriations subcommittee looks at the EPA’s major management challenges. Might it be doing too much? Wednesday – Defense Secretary Gates testifies before the Defense Subcommittee of House Appropriations on the DOD’s FY2012 budget.  Fed Chairman Bernanke provides the monetary report to the House Financial Services Committee. House Science holds a hearing on NASA’s budget. An Appropriations subcommittee reviews the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s budget. EPA Administrator Jackson testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee. Thursday – Secretary Salazar testifies on Interior’s FY2012 budget proposal to the House Natural Resources Committee. House Science reviews the Energy Department’s FY2012 R&D budget, with Secretary Chu testifying. An Ed&Workforce subcommittee examines recent activities of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Another Approps subcommittee looks at NASA’s budget. A House Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing, “Review of the FY2012 Budget and Priorities of the Environmental Protection Agency: Impacts on Jobs, Liberty, and the Economy,” focusing on clean water, brownfields and Superfund.  Liberty!

Senate Hearings: Tuesday – Senate Budget Committee reviews the President’s FY2012 education budget. The Banking Committee hears from Fed Chairman Bernanke for the semiannual monetary policy report. Senate EPW assesses the FY2012 budget for the Federal Highway Administration, with Transportation Secretary LaHood testifying. The Finance Committee reviews changes in the law and tax environment since the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The Commerce Committee reviews the FY2012 DOT budget, with Secretary LaHood appearing. Wednesday – Energy and Natural Resources hears from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Interior’s FY2012 budget. What’s the price of oil again? The Budget Committee asks Secretary Chu about the Energy Department budget.  The full Commerce Committee holds a hearing, “The Future of American Manufacturing: Maintaining America’s Competitive Edge.” Senate EPW reviews EPA’s budget, with Administrator Jackson testifying. Senate Judiciary hears from judicial nominees, including the controversial 9th Circuit nominee, Goodwin Liu. Thursday – Energy and Natural Resources reviews the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed budget. Senate Budget hears from Transportation Secretary LaHood. Foreign Relations holds a hearing, “Navigating a Turbulent Global Economy – Implications for the United States,” with Treasury Secretary Geithner before the mast. Senate Agriculture examines regulation of OTC swaps, hearing from CFTC Commissioner Gensler and SEC Chairman Schapiro.

Executive Branch: The U.S. International Trade Commission has scheduled a special 301 public hearing for Thursday, with many industry issues on the agenda. The week’s USTR schedule is here.

Economic Reports: From The New York Times: “Scheduled this week are personal income for January, Chicago purchasing managers’ index for February, and pending home sales for December (Monday); construction spending for January (Tuesday); the Federal Reserve beige book (Wednesday); and unemployment for February and factory orders for January (Friday).”

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