Dispatch from the Front: The Week of April 4, 2011

The tension mounts as the horror builds as a federal government shutdown looms. Congress spends the week debating spending in advance of Friday’s expiration of the continuing resolution, with the immediate onus on the Senate to act.

President Obama welcomes Israeli President Shimon Peres to the White House on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the President travels to Philadelphia to talk about energy and visit wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa Technology Corp. in Fairless Hills, an event billed by the White House as a “town hall discussion with workers about building a 21st century clean energy economy to win the future.” And to repeat slogans! Also Wednesday, the President travels to NYC to deliver remarks at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s 20th Anniversary and National Convention.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today, with a judicial confirmation vote in the evening. A vote is expected Tuesday on an amendment to repeal the 1099 tax reporting requirements imposed by last year’s health care law. Otherwise, uncertainty blooms. A vote on a spending resolution might occur, one awaits a vote on the McConnell amendment to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has confounded leadership with an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate on U.S. military involvement in Libya.

The House convenes at noon today with one scheduled bill on suspension, H.R. 1246, to reduce the DOD’s appropriation on printing and reproduction. The rest of the week pours strong policy brew, H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, to block EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, and H.J.Res. 37, disapproving the FCC’s regulation of the Internet and broadband practices. No Friday session is scheduled, but with a budget shutdown glooming…. For more, see the House Majority Leader’s floor schedule. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) releases a deficit-cutting 2012 budget plan on Tuesday.

Senate Hearings: Tuesday — An Appropriations subcommittee hears from Treasury Secretary Geithner on the department’s budget. Wednesday — The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the government’s perspective on protecting privacy in the digital age. EPW hears from state and local officials on transportation issues. An Armed Services subcommittee reviews DOD’s strategic systems. Thursday — HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan testifies before an Appropriations subcommittee. Energy and Natural Resources holds a hearing on biofuels, infrastructure, and S. 187, the Biofuels Market Expansion Act. Senate Judiciary marks up bills, including S.394, the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, and votes on judicial nominees. Homeland Security holds a hearing, “Securing the Border: Progress at the Local Level.”

House Hearings: The House Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees have a heavy week of committee hearing on agency budgets, many of interest to manufacturers. See the full list here. Monday — House Rules meets to formulate a rule on H.J.Res. 37, the FCC disapproval resolution. Tuesday — A House Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing on securing ports of entry against illicit money, guns and drugs. A Transportation subcommittee hears from members of Congress on reforming surface transportation. A Natural Resources subcommittee reviews budgets of the BLM and Forest Service’s energy and minerals programs. A separate Natural Resources subcommittee holds a hearing, “Creating Abundant Water and Power Supplies and Job Growth by Restoring Common Sense to Federal Regulations.” Rules prepares the rule for H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, preventing EPA regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Wednesday — An Agriculture subcommittee considers the state of the beef industry. A Financial Services subcommittee holds hearings on improving the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. House Education and Workforce holds a hearing on federal education and workforce programs and the GAO report on government waste. A Natural Resources subcommittee holds hearings on legislation to promote offshore leasing and drilling: H.R.1229, H.R.1230, and H.R. 1231. Foreign Affairs considers export controls and arm sales. The Small Business Committee holds a hearing on free trade agreements and small business; witnesses include Jason Speer of Quality Float Works. An Oversight subcommittee assesses the impact of greenhouse gas regulations on business. A Science subcommittee looks at offshore drilling safety and response technologies. Thursday — A Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing on railroad and hazardous materials transportation plans. An Agriculture subcommittees considers market promotion programs and ag exports. Ed&Workforce holds a hearing on education reforms. A Homeland Security subcommittee considers improving international cooperation on aviation security. The trade subcommittee of Ways & Means holds a hearing that makes the case for the U.S.-South Korea FTA. A Small Business subcommittee reviews the Creating Jobs Through Small Business Innovation Act.

Executive Branch: Transportation Secretary LaHood joins Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and  Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) in Allentown, Pa., to tour the site of a natural gas pipeline explosion and make an announcement on pipeline safety. (News story.) Energy Secretary Chu is in Dubai Wednesday and Thursday for the Clean Energy Ministerial.  U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk travels to Pittsburgh on Thursday to meet with the Executive Committee of the United Steel Workers. On Saturday, Ambassador Kirk speaks in Dallas at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference. (USTR weekly schedule.)

Economic Reports: From The New York Times: “Data will include the Institute for Supply Management’s service sector index for March (Tuesday); retailers’ sales data for March, weekly jobless claims and consumer credit data for February (Thursday); and wholesale trade inventories for February (Friday).” For more, see Neil Irwin’s column, Washington Post.

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