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TOPICS: House budget resolution | Surface transportation | Oil industry tax breaks | USDA reports
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House action today on a 90-day surface transportation reauthorization bill, a House vote on the FY 2013 budget resolution, a vote on eliminating oil and gas industry tax breaks, and some important USDA reports released Friday are the Washington focus this week. The House is not expected to be in session on March 30. At the end of the week's business, both chambers will depart for a two-week recess. The Senate and the House are set to reconvene April 16.
House GOP leaders want to debate their Fiscal Year 2013 budget blueprint – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) both said last week that a final vote would probably occur March 29. The plan was adopted on a nearly party-line vote of 198-18 during a March 21 House Budget Committee meeting. The legislation, largely written by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), proposes $3.530 trillion in spending and $2.734 trillion in revenues, leaving a deficit of $797 billion. Other budget alternatives are expected to be offered on the floor.
House members today will also consider a 90-day of the current surface transportation bill (HR 4239), which is set to expire on March 31. President Obama used his Saturday weekly radio address to repeat his call for Congress to pass a multi-year highway and transit bill. "In a matter of days, funding will stop for all sorts of transportation projects," he said. "Construction sites will go idle. Workers will have to go home. And our economy will take a hit." He did not call for a short-term extension, but for the House to follow the Senate's lead and pass a new bill.
The Senate will consider separate motions to proceed to legislation (HR 2204) dealing with oil and gas tax breaks for the energy industry and to a bill (S 1789) that would make the U.S. Postal Service more cost efficient. The tax/energy bill would extend several tax incentives for the clean and renewable energy sector, while repealing tax breaks for the large oil companies. The bill, called the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, was introduced March 19 by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). It would prevent the big oil companies from claiming the domestic production deduction as well as end deductions for drilling and development costs.
Meanwhile, today through Wednesday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about the Obama administration’s health care overhaul law.
Several key USDA reports are released Friday, including Grain Stocks, Prospective Plantings, and Quarterly Hogs & Pigs.
Congressional committee action will focus on renewable energy tax incentives, gasoline prices, the health care law, environmental protection, and monetary policy issues.
Monday, March 26
Supreme Court: The US Supreme Court begins to hear six hours of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the health-care reform law.
Obama in South Korea: President Barack Obama attends a nuclear security summit in Seoul. He will meet on the sidelines with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
NABE conference: National Association for Business Economics (NABE) holds its 2012 Economic Policy Conference titled "From Crisis Management to Long-Term Renewal." Speakers include Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Europe: Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, addresses bankers in Berlin about the European debt crisis; Olli Rehn, the European Union’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner, is to speak about the outlook for the European economy.
Farm bill assessment and outlook: Environmental and Energy Study Institute briefing titled "Conservation, Energy Security and Jobs with Biomass Crops? A Question for the Next Farm Bill."
Agricultural innovation and policy outlook: Americans for Choice and Competition in Agriculture briefing titled "Feeding the World and Growing Our Economy: Agricultural Innovation in the 21st Century." Speaker include: Roger Beachy, founding president, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; Brandon Hunnicutt, chairman, Nebraska Corn Growers Association; Gregory Conko, senior fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute; Chandler Goule, vice president of government relations, National Farmers Union.
Economic reports: Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve) | Pending Home Sales Index.
USDA reports: Export inspections (AMS) | Monthly Milk Cost of Production (ERS) | Poultry Slaughter (NASS) | Price Reactions After USDA Livestock Reports (NASS).
Tuesday, March 27
Federal Reserve: Bernanke's lecture series to college students continues with his take on the Fed and the financial crisis.
OECD: The OECD launches its economic surveys for the euro area.
EPA cooperation with other federal agencies: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Environment and Public Works — Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy hearing titled "The EPA's Work with Other Federal Entities to Reduce Pollution and Improve Environmental Performance."
Fiscal 2013 appropriations - Energy and Water Development: Subcommittee hearing. House Appropriations — Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Topic: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Fossil Energy; Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
Fiscal 2013 budget - Army Corps of Engineers: Subcommittee hearing. House Transportation and Infrastructure — Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
Jobs and gasoline prices: Committee oversight hearing. House Natural Resources Committee will hold a series of oversight hearings titled "Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices." Topic: Family vacations and US Tourism Industry.
Effect of federal policies on competition and innovation: Subcommittee hearing. House Science, Space and Technology — Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation hearing titled "Fostering the US Competitive Edge: Examining the Effect of Federal Policies on Competition, Innovation and Job Growth."
Federal Reserve assistance to Eurozone: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology hearing on assistance to the Eurozone by the Federal Reserve System and its impact on the US economy, the monetary system and the dollar. Witnesses: William Dudley, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Steven B. Kamin, director, Division of International Finance, Federal Reserve System.
Benefits of a sound dollar: Committee hearing. Joint Economic Committee hearing titled "Monetary Policy Moving Forward: Why a Sound Dollar Boosts Growth and Employment." Witnesses: John Taylor, professor of economics, Stanford University; Laurence Meyer, senior adviser and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, and distinguished scholar, Center for Strategic and International Studies; William Poole, senior fellow, Cato Institute, former president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Renewable energy tax incentives: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Finance — Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure hearing titled "Renewable Energy Tax Incentives: How Have the Recent and Pending Expirations of Key Incentives Affected the Renewable Energy Industry in the United States?"
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales | S&P Case-Shiller HPI | Consumer Confidence.
Wednesday, March 28
MF Global bankruptcy: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on the bankruptcy filing by the financial derivatives broker MF Global Holdings Ltd. Witnesses: Laurie Ferber, general counsel, MF Global; Henri Steenkamp, chief financial officer, MF Global; Christine Serwinski, chief financial officer, MF Global North America; Edith O'Brien, assistant treasurer at the time MF Global went bankrupt; a witness from J.P. Morgan Chase; a witness from the Financial Accounting Standards Board.
Fiscal 2013 appropriations - Energy and Water: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Appropriations — Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Topic: Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation.
Fiscal 2013 appropriations - Financial Services: Subcommittee hearing. House Appropriations — Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing on proposed fiscal 2013 appropriations for departments, agencies and programs under its jurisdiction. Witness: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Fiscal 2013 appropriations - Energy and Water Development: Subcommittee hearing. House Appropriations — Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Topic: Bureau of Reclamation.
Legislative responses to rising gasoline prices: Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing.
US policy on Iran: Committee hearing. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing titled "High Stakes and Hard Choices: US Policy on Iran."
Chinese threat to the US: Committee hearing. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
EU emissions trading policy and US aviation industry: Subcommittee roundtable. House Transportation and Infrastructure — Subcommittee on Aviation and Infrastructure Committee roundtable discussion titled "The European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme and Its Impact on the US Aviation Industry, International Law, and Global Trade."
General farm commodities and risk management bills: Subcommittee hearing. House Agriculture — Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management hearing on pending legislation. HR 3283 — Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act; Draft Bill — Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act.
Obtaining weather forecasting data: Subcommittee hearing. House Science, Space and Technology — Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing titled "To Observe and Protect: How NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] Procures Data for Weather Forecasting."
Economic reports: Durable Goods Orders.
Energy reports: EIA Petroleum Status Report | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Transportation: Grain Transportation Report (AMS) | Weekly Traffic of Major Railroads (Assn. of American Railroads).
USDA reports: Broiler Hatchery (NASS).
Thursday, March 29
Gasoline price trends: Committee hearing. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on current and near-term future price expectations and trends for motor gasoline and other refined petroleum fuels .Witnesses: Daniel Yergin, chairman, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates; Frank Verrastro, senior vice president and director, Energy and National Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Paul Horsnell, managing director and head of commodities research, Barclays Capital, London.
FDA user fee agreements: Committee hearing. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing titled "FDA [Food and Drug Administration] User Fee Agreements: Strengthening FDA and the Medical Products Industry for the Benefit of Patients."
Fiscal 2013 appropriations – Agriculture: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Appropriations — Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies. Witnesses: Tom Vilsack - secretary of Agriculture; Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of Agriculture; Joseph Glauber, chief economist, Department of Agriculture; Michael Young, budget officer, USDA.
China's role and influence in Africa: Subcommittee hearing. House Foreign Affairs — Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.
Economic reports: Jobless Claims | GDP.
Energy reports: EIA Natural Gas Report |
USDA reports: Export Sales Report (FAS) | Peanut Stocks and Processing (NASS) | Agricultural Prices (NASS).
Friday, March 30
Europe: Euro zone finance ministers discuss the size of the permanent rescue fund. A decision on the successor to Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the Euro group of euro-zone finance ministers may be announced.
Farm bill field hearing: House Agriculture Committee field hearing in preparation for drafting the 2012 farm bill. At Arkansas State University.
Economic reports: Personal Income and Outlays | Chicago PMI | Consumer Sentiment.
USDA reports: Dairy Products Prices (NASS) | Peanut Prices (NASS) | Grain Stocks (NASS) | Prospective Plantings (NASS) | Rice Stocks (NASS) Dairy Products Prices (NASS) | Quarterly Hogs and Pigs (NASS) | Honey (NASS) | Egg Products (NASS) | Rice Yearbook Data tables (ERS) | Vegetables and Melons Outlook (ERS) | Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook (ERS).
NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.