Dispatch from the Front: The Week of May 23

President Obama spends the week in Europe, a joint session of Congress hosts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and expiring PATRIOT Act provisions run up against a deadline.

President Obama arrives in Ireland today as he begins a six-day European tour. The President and Mrs. Obama will meet with their Irish counterparts today and then will travel to Moneygall, the President’s ancestral home They’ll spend the night in Dublin before traveling to London for meetings with the Queen and Prime Minister.  On Thursday, the G-8 summit in Deauville, France is on the agenda, and the President will hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of Russia, Japan, and France.  The Europe trip wraps up with a jaunt to Poland, and then it’s back to Washington on Saturday night.  For more about the trip, see here

Congress is back in full swing, with the House and Senate back in session before heading home at the end of the week for Memorial Day recess.  The top priority this week is the renewal of expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act and another national security bill.  The provisions expire May 27.  News reports say congressional leaders have reached a deal but the House and Senate still have to vote.  The Senate may vote to proceed to the bill, S. 1038, tomorrow.  The House gavels into session at two p.m. and takes up several bills on the suspension calendar.  For details, see here

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu winds up his trip to the United States with an address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday.

Senate Hearings: MONDAY—The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee considers the Administration’s cyberspace security proposal.  TUESDAY—The Banking Committee holds a hearing on derivatives clearinghouses.  The Finance Committee holds a hearing on the Panama Free Trade Agreement.  WEDNESDAY: Commerce Secretary begins the process of becoming ambassador to China with a hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee.  The Judiciary Committee considers two intellectual property bills, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (S. 968) and a bill dealing with criminal penalties for copyright infringement (S. 978).  The Energy and Natural Resources marks up several bills, including a domestic energy measure (the Oil and Gas Facilitation Act, S. 916) and an offshore energy bill (the Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act, S. 917).  THURSDAY—The Finance Committee holds a hearing on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

House Hearings: MONDAY—The Energy and Commerce Committee holds a hearing on draft legislation to expedite the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline.  TUESDAY—A Natural Resources subcommittee holds a hearing on strategic and critical minerals policy.  The Oversight and Government Reform Committee asks the EPA about gas prices.  EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is scheduled to testify.  That afternoon, the committee examines the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and hears from Elizabeth Warren. A Transportation Subcommittee looks at regulations on the maritime industry.  The Ways and Means Committee considers “How Other Countries Have Used Tax Reform to Help Their Companies Compete in the Global Market and Create Jobs.”  The Judiciary Committee asks “Can We Sue Our Way to Prosperity?” A Financial Services subcommittee considers Export-Import Bank reauthorization.  WEDNESDAY—The Energy and Commerce Committee examines whether Americans should be able to purchase health insurance across state lines.  A House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee questions OIRA chief Cass Sunstein.  Two Science, Space and Technology subcommittees hold a hearing on cybersecurity.  Have plans this weekend?  The Natural Resources Committee looks at the impact of gas prices on Memorial Day vacations.  Two Judiciary subcommittees hold a hearing on cybersecurity.  An Agriculture subcommittee examines derivatives reform.  An Oversight and Government Reform convenes a hearing on cybersecurity at the same time another subcommittee looks at how the Fed affects gas prices.  A Financial Services subcommittee considers “More Steps to End the GSE Bailout.”  A Foreign Affairs subcommittee investigates the UN’s climate change agenda.  THURSDAY—A Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee looks into whether NASA’s commercial cargo providers have the right stuff.  An Education and Workforce Committee holds a hearing on “Corporate Campaigns and the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board): The Impact of Union Pressure on Job Creation.”  A Small Business subcommittee looks into Section 511 of the Tax Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee considers high-speed rail in the northeast.  A Homeland Security subcommittee explores the potential of the SAFETY (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) Act.

Executive Branch: USTR Ron Kirk meets with Vietnam’s trade minister today.  Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack talks about foreign oil in Tennessee.  On Tuesday, DOT and the FAA meet regarding rechargeable lithium batteries.  Secretary Clinton attends the meeting of the OECD on Wednesday and Thursday.

Economic Reports: From the New York Times: “Releases will include new-home sales for April (Tuesday); durable goods for April (Wednesday); weekly jobless claims and first-quarter gross domestic product, revised (Thursday); personal income and spending for April; Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May. (Friday).”  Neil Irwin’s Washington Post column here.

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