Dispatch from the Front: The Week of March 26

By March 26, 2012General

President Obama is in Seoul, South Korea today for the Nuclear Security Summit. He delivers a speech about his Administration’s efforts to combat nuclear proliferation and holds separate meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Chinese President Hu Jintao. On Tuesday, the President returns to Washington at the conclusion of summit. On Friday, he will be fundraising in Vermont and Maine.

The Senate convenes this afternoon and will vote whether to take up a bill that would raise taxes on oil and gas companies (S. 2204). If that vote fails, the Senate will turn to a measure to reform the postal service (S. 1789).

Today, the House will vote on a bill (H.R. 4239) to extend surface transportation programs for three months as the House and Senate continue to work toward a long-term reauthorization. On Tuesday, the House will consider the Senate version of the JOBS Act (H.R. 3606). To conclude the week, the House will take up Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget (H.Con.Res. 112). See the Majority Leader’s schedule here.

Senate Hearings: TUESDAY—Environment and Public Works subcommittees hold a joint hearing on “The EPA’s Work with Other Federal Entities to Reduce Pollution and Improve Environmental Performance.” A Finance subcommittee looks at tax incentives for renewable energy. THURSDAY—The Energy and Natural Resources Committee examines gas prices. A Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee considers “Contractors: How Much Are They Costing the Government?” The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) User Fee Agreements. The Small Business Committee looks at the budget for the Small Business Administration. The Rules Committee holds a hearing on the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act (S. 2219).

House Hearings: TUESDAY—An Appropriations Committee holds a hearing on the budgets for various agencies in the Department of Energy. The Science, Space and Technology Committee holds a hearing on “Fostering the U.S. Competitive Edge: Examining the Effect of Federal Policies on Competition, Innovation, and Job Growth.” The Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on gas prices. WEDNESDAY—An Appropriations subcommittee looks at “American Manufacturing and Job Repatriation.” An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on gas prices. Another Energy and Commerce subcommittee examines cybersecurity threats. The Natural Resources Committee considers a motion to authorize a subpoena relating to Interior Department actions. An Agriculture subcommittee considers legislation dealing with commodity swaps. The Small Business Committee holds a hearing on “Large and Small Businesses: How Partnerships Can Promote Job Growth.” An Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on loan guarantees for energy projects. THURSDAY—The Way and Means Committee holds a hearing on the mandates in the health care law. An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on online privacy.

Executive Branch: Today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Canada for meetings with Canadian and Mexican defense officials, Commerce Secretary John Bryson is leading a trade mission in India, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is in Seoul with the President, and Attorney General Eric Holder will be at the Supreme Court for arguments in the health care case.

Federal Courts: The Supreme Court holds the first of three days of arguments on the health care law.

Economic Reports: From the New York Times: “Data will include pending home sales for February (Monday); the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index for January and consumer confidence for March (Tuesday); durable goods orders for February (Wednesday); weekly jobless claims and the final gross domestic product for the fourth quarter (Thursday); and personal income and spending for February, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for March and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March (Friday).”

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