Dispatch from the Front: The Week of August 1

Congress and the President seek to finalize a measure to raise the debt with just hours to go before the August 2 deadline.

On Wednesday, the President is scheduled to attend fundraising events in Chicago, and on Thursday, he celebrates his 50th birthday.

The Senate gavels in today at 10:30 a.m. and begins the process of passing the debt ceiling legislation congressional leaders agreed to last night. A vote on final passage could occur tonight.

The House could also vote on the debt ceiling measure as early as tonight. In addition, the House could vote on four bills today, including one that would make changes to the consumer product safety law.

More about the day ahead here and the week ahead here.

Senate Hearings: TUESDAY—The Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s report on the Fukushima nuclear plant accident. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee considers “Health Reform and Health Insurance Premiums: Empowering States to Serve Consumers.” WEDNESDAY—The Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on cybercrime. A Banking subcommittee looks at “Debt Financing in the Domestic Financial Sector.” The Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on several bills, including a measure (S. 1144) that would extend the reduced royalty rate for soda ash. THURSDAY—The Banking Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Richard Cordray to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

House Hearings: MONDAY—The Judiciary Committee marks up the Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 1433). WEDNESDAY—The Science, Space and Technology Committee holds a hearing on “Impacts of the LightSquared Network on Federal Science Activities.” Two Ways and Means subcommittees hold a joint hearing on the intersection of energy and tax policy. The Small Business Committee looks at “Innovative Approaches to Meeting the Workforce Needs of Small Businesses.”  Jennifer McNelly of the Manufacturing Institute testifies. THURSDAY—The Financial Services Committee considers Securities and Exchange Commission reform. A Small Business subcommittee holds a hearing on “Helping Small Businesses Compete: Challenges Within Programs Designed to Assist Small Contractors.” FRIDAY—The House Financial Services Committee examines the potential impact of Europe’s debt crisis on U.S. banks.

Executive Branch: Today Defense Secretary Leon Panetta welcomes his British counterpart, Liam Fox, the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Defense. Also today, former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is sworn in to his new role, Ambassador to China.

Economic Reports: From the New York Times: “Reports will include construction spending and I.S.M. manufacturing (Monday); personal spending, personal income and monthly auto sales (Tuesday); M.B.A. mortgage applications, ADP employment report, I.S.M. nonmanufacturing index and factory orders (Wednesday); weekly jobless claims and ICSC chain store sales (Thursday); and the monthly unemployment rate for July and consumer credit (Friday).”

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