Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 21

Congress is on a one-week recess, President Obama is traveling, and war in Libya competes with the Japanese humanitarian and nuclear crisis for headlines.

President Obama continues his Latin America tour today in Chile and, circumnavigating Colombia, El Salvador on Tuesday.

The Senate reconvenes at 2 p.m. next Monday, March 28, with debate to continue on  S. 493, SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act. Call your Senator urging support for the McConnell amendment to block EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. The House reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 29.

Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, speaks Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nashville.

House Hearings: Monday — The House Education and Workforce Commitee holds a field hearing in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., “Role of Higher Education in Job Growth:  The Role of Higher Education in Job Growth and Development.”  (Media advisory.) Witnesses include Jeffrey Alesson, vice president at Diamond Manufacturing, Exeter, Penn. Tuesday — House Ed&Workforce continues on the theme, “Reviving our Economy: The Role of Higher Education in Job Growth and Development,” in Utica., N.Y.  Wednesday — House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health holds a field hearing in Harrisburg, Pa. , “PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) in Pennsylvania: One Year of Broken Promises.” Witnesses include Ann Daane, vice president of North America Human Resources for Case New Holland. Thursday — The Energy and Power Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce holds a field hearing in Houston, “EPA’s Greenhouse Gas and Clean Air Act Regulations:  A Focus on Texas’ Economy, Energy Prices and Jobs.”

Executive Branch: Monday — Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke is in São Paolo today and will give remarks to the American Chamber of Commerce luncheon followed by a tour of Cummins Inc. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is in Boulder, Colo., to tour the Ball Aerospace Campus and discuss the future of the Landsat program. (Advisory) Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano holds a news conference at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ to make an announcement about E-Verify. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is in Portland, Ore., to visit United Streetcar at an Apollo Alliance event to promote manufacturing in the transit industry. LaHood later meets members of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Defense Secretary Gates is in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Economic Reports: From The New York Times: “Data will include existing home sales for February (Monday); new home sales for February (Wednesday); durable goods orders for February and initial jobless claims (Thursday); and gross domestic product for the fourth quarter and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March (Friday).”

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