Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 7

Congress deals again with spending issues as the current continuing resolution expires on March 18. The Senate votes on the House-passed spending bill, H.R. 1, but most negotiations will occur in camera.

President Obama welcomes Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia to the White House on Monday; she addresses a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. The President joins Melinda Gates and Education Secretary Duncan on Tuesday in a visit to TechBoston Academy. On Thursday the President keeps the focus on jobs and the economy by hosting the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. On Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks stop by to celebrate their Stanley Cup victory. For more on the President’s schedule, go here.

The House convenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday. On the suspension calendar are H.R. 570, the Dental Emergency Responder Act, and H.R. 525, the Veterinary Public Health Workforce and Education Act. (Anything for emergency veterinary dentists?) On the regular floor agenda are H.R. 830, the FHA Refinance Program Termination Act, and H.R. 836, the Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act. For more, see the Majority Leader’s weekly schedule.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. Monday and moves to U.S. district court nominations. The major issue of the week is H.R. 1, the House-passed FY2011 continuing resolution, with a Tuesday cloture vote. Also on the floor schedule is S. 23, the Patent Reform Act.

If unrest in Libya results in higher oil prices, does turmoil in Wisconsin produce beer-cheese-soup inflation?

Senate Hearings: Monday – The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a field hearing in Colchester, Vt., “Strategies to Protect and Promote Vermont Brands.” Witnesses include Michael Rainville of Maple Landmark, Inc., and president of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association. Tuesday – Armed Services reviews the Navy’s FY2012 budget request. Senate Budget Committee hears from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on deficits, debt, doom. Energy and Natural Resources holds a hearing on Peter Lyons to be DOE’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy. Senate Finance asks, “Does the Tax System Support Economic Efficiency, Job Creation and Broad-Based Economic Growth?” Economists opine. Appropriations hears from OMB Director Lew on the President’s FY2012 budget request. Transportation Secretary LaHood testifies before the Commerce Committee on DOT’s budget requestWednesday – U.S. Trade Representative Kirk presents the President’s 2011 Trade Agenda to the Senate Finance Committee. Senate Budget ponders the “Distribution and Efficiency of Spending in the Tax Code.”  The Small Business Committee marks up the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) reauthorization. EPW hears from Secretary LaHood on the Federal Highway Administration’s budget.  Senate Banking reviews the state of the housing market.  Commerce examines NASA and possible programmatic changes. (Privatization?)  Interior Secretary Salazar testifies before an Appropriations subcommittee on his budget. Energy and Natural Resources holds a hearing on S.398, to improve energy efficiency of certain appliances and equipment; and S.395, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act; manufacturing trade associations are represented. Thursday – Transportation Secretary LaHood testifies before an Appropriations subcommittee on the DOT budget. Senate Banking considers the SEC’s budget. Senate HELP Committee holds a hearing, “Bridgepoint Education, Inc.: A Case study in For-Profit Education and Oversight.”

House Hearings: Tuesday – An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing, “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations.” An Appropriations subcommittee reviews Interior’s FY2012 budget, with Secretary Salazar testifying.  A Transportation subcommittee examines the Corps of Engineers and TVA’s budgets. Another Appropriations subcommittee considers the SBA’s budget. A House Judiciary subcommittee considers H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act.  See, if you capitalize the “In” it becomes the REINS Act. An Appropriations subcommittee considers the Customs and Border Protection budget, with Commissioner Bersin testifying.  Wednesday — Transportation Secretary LaHood testifies on the DOT budget before a House  Appropriations subcommittee. An Oversight subcommittee holds a hearing, “Cumulative Impact of Regulation on the Government.”  An Appropriations subcommittee considers Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s budget. The acronym is reason enough to support a budget freeze. A Judiciary subcommittee considers, “Driving American Innovation: Creating Jobs and Boosting our Economy.” An Energy and Commerce subcommittee abjures FCC’s efforts to regulate the Internet, discusses H.J.Res. 37, the resolution of disapproval.  Another Energy & Commerce subcommittee looks at fiscal priorities in health care funding. A Homeland Security subcommittee considers the threat to air commerce from terrorism.  House Ed&Workforce reviews the Department of Education’s budget and policy proposals, with Secretary Duncan testifying. A Foreign Affairs subcommittee considers China’s indigenous innovation policies.  Thursday – An Appropriations subcommittee looks at the National Science Foundation’s budget. Education Secretary Duncan testifies on his budget before an Appropriations subcommittee. An Ed&Workforce subcommittee looks at the rising costs of employer-provided health care. A Judiciary subcommittee reviews which jobs immigrant workers are getting after the recession.  An Appropriations subcommittee eyeshades the Office of Surface Mining’s budget. A Judiciary subcommittee reviews recent judicial decisions on patent law.  The full Agriculture Committee examines the EPA’s impact on agriculture. A Financial Services subcommittee looks at the EximBank’s role in U.S. competitiveness and jobs. Friday – The Customs and Border Protection’s budget gets a review in House Appropriations. The full Science Committee reviews the NSF and NIST budgets. An Appropriations subcommittee examines the FDA’s budget.  A Transportation subcommittee considers how to promote private sector support for passenger rail service. The House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee holds a hearing on the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee considers the EPA’s budget.

Executive Branch: Vice President Biden is traveling through Finland, Russia and Moldova this week. Secretary Locke deliver the keynote address Tuesday at a meeting of the Regional Dallas Chamber of Commerce. On Wednesday, Locke addresses the Corporation for Travel Promotion, created by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The President’s Export Council meets Friday in Washington. For the USTR, Ambassador Punke is in Geneva for a meeting of the WTO’s Trade Negotiations Committee. (USTR’s weekly schedule.)

Economic Reports: The Census Bureau reports the trade balance for January on Thursday. On Friday, we get retail sales for February and manufacturing inventory figures for January.

Australia’s PM, Julia Gillard, has a busy schedule during her eight-day visit to the United States, including meetings related to business. The Australian dollar’s high value is an issue.

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