Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 14

Congress maneuvers on spending in anticipation of Friday’s expiration of the continuing resolution. President Obama will be in Brazil on Friday. The human suffering and economic costs of the Japan earthquake overwhelm the news coming from Libya. In Wisconsin, the absence of protests, rallies and rage leaves an existential hole in the lives of some.

The House convenes at noon today with a post office and a statue of Gerald Ford on the suspension calendar. On Tuesday, the schedule features H.J.Res. 48, the further continuing appropriations. The Wednesday floor schedule includes H.R. 839, the Home Affordable Modification Program Termination Act, and H.R. 861, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program Termination Act. On Thursday, the House considers H.Con.Res. 28, a War Power Resolution directing the President to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee marks H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, to block EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, and H.J.Res. 37, a resolution disapproving the FCC’s net neutrality rule.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today, moves to a judicial nomination and then a cloture vote on  S. 493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act.

President Obama gives an education speech today at a middle school in Arlington, Va., today, and then welcomes Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark to the White House.  On Thursday, the President will welcome the Taoiseach of Ireland to the White House in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. On Friday evening, the First Family travels to Brasilia, Brazil. More.

House HearingsMonday – A Judiciary subcommittee looks at fraudulent online commerce sites. Tuesday – A Natural Resources subcommittee examines the regional power administrations. A Science subcommittee holds a hearing on Homeland Security’s research and technology programs.  A Homeland Security subcommittee considers border enforcement technology, infrastructure and personnel. An Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on USDA’s food safety programs. A separate Appropriations subcommittee hears from Energy Security Chu on DOE’s budget. Yet another subcommittee dives into the budget of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, with Director Bromwich testifying. House Small Business marks up the SBA’s budget. A Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on the Wireless Tax Fairness Act. The Oversight Committee asks about all those health care waivers Wednesday –  Labor Secretary Solis testifies on her department’s budget before Appropriations.  The Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the Obama Administration’s de facto drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. A Homeland Security subcommittee examines the cyber threat to critical infrastructure and the U.S. economy. An Appropriations subcommittee looks at the DOE’s science programs.  Financial Services holds an oversight hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Small Business Committee hears testimony on the Small Business Innovation Research Program. An Oversight subcommittee holds a hearing on project labor agreements. A Financial Services subcommittee considers “Legislative Proposals to Promote Job Creation, Capital Formation, and Market Certainty.” Ways & Means marks up   H.R. 1034,  the Airport and Airway Trust Fund Financing Reauthorization Act. Thursday – A Financial Services subcommittee reviews the relationship of monetary policy and rising prices.  The Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on jobs, domestic energy production, jobs, gas prices and jobs.  House Education and Workforce holds a hearing, “Education Regulations: Roadblocks to Student Choice in Higher Education,” which we take to be about private, for-profit schools. The CFTC  gets its budget review from Appropriations.  A Ways & Means subcommittee holds a hearing on pending trade agreements, with William D. Marsh of Baker Hughes testifying on behalf of manufacturers. Commerce Secretary Locke testifies on his agency’s budget before an Appropriations subcommittee. A Foreign Affairs subcommittee holds a hearing, “The Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements: National Security and Foreign Policy Priorities.”

Senate Hearings: Tuesday – Senate Budget committee considers the report of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force.  The Banking Committee hears from Treasury Secretary Geithner and HUD Secretary Donovan on the Administration’s housing finance proposals. Judiciary Committee talks about FOIA in the digital age. Commerce ponders NASA’s programmatic challenges. Wednesday – Commerce holds a hearing on online consumer privacy. Senate EPW reviews the report from the national oil spill commission. The Finance Committee hears from HHS Secretary Sebelius on the first year of the new health care law, which some call reform.  An Appropriations subcommittee reviews the Navy’s budget request. A separate subcommittee looks at EPA’s budget, with Administrator Lisa Jackson testifying. It’s expensive to run the economy! Senate Judiciary holds a hearing on pending nominations. Thursday – Energy and Natural Resources considers global investment trends in clean energy technologies. (Will someone from the German Industrial Energy Association testify?) Two EPW subcommittees meet to conflate the Clean Air Act and jobs. Senate HELP Committee holds a hearing on health insurance exchanges and state implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act. Senate Judiciary marks up S. 216, the Food Safety Accountability Act, and S. 410, the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, i.e., videotaping federal court proceedings.  . An Appropriations subcommittee examines the FDA’s budget proposal.

Executive Branch: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Paris for the G8 meetings, which will include talk on aiding Libyan rebels. President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship holds the group’s first in-person public forum Tuesday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The USTR’s weekly schedule is here. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke makes a stop in Sao Paulo and joins President Obama in Brasilia for the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.

Economic Reports: The New York Times reports: “Data will include import prices for February (Tuesday); the producer price index for February, housing starts for February, and the current account deficit for the fourth quarter (Wednesday); weekly jobless claims, the Consumer Price Index for February, industrial production and capacity utilization for February, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index for March, and leading economic indicators for February (Thursday).” For more, see this AP schedule for the week.

Leave a Reply