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Obama budget | Immigration reform | Nomination hearings | FOMC minutes | WASDE
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President Obama's two-month delayed Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposals, hearings on those proposals, immigration reform, FOMC minutes, nomination hearings for EPA, Energy and OMB, and USDA's monthly WASDE report are major topics this week. The Senate convenes April 8 (no roll calls votes Monday) and the House returns April 9.
Lawmakers return after a two-week recess to receive President Obama's Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposals on Wednesday, with several congressional panels examining the administration's proposals for federal spending and deficit reduction. The president's plan is being sent to Congress nearly two months later than mandated and also after both chambers have passed their own budget outlines. The president's budget is expected to contain spending cuts and revenue hikes that would reduce the deficit by billions over the next four years. These cuts are expected to include reductions for Medicare and Social Security, as well as a tax increase for wealthy Americans. The president’s proposal will include as much as $600 billion in new revenues or tax hikes, and a new formula for calculating inflation that would reduce cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits for some recipients, an idea referred to as "chained CPI" – White House officials speaking to The New York Times and The Washington Post were careful to portray it as a key Republican demand. Senior citizen groups have already opposed the chained CPI proposal. seniors turn out to vote in large numbers, especially during midterm elections. During the 2010 midterm, roughly one-fourth of voters were at least 65 years old, according to census data. Just over two-thirds — 68 percent — were 45 or older. Several congressional hearings are scheduled Thursday and Friday to further examine Obama's proposal.
The Senate could take up gun control legislation, while the House plans to vote a bill (HR 1120) that would limit the role of the National Labor Relations Board after a US Court of Appeals ruling regarding Obama's recess appointments to the agency.
A bipartisan group of eight senators is “on track” to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation by the end of this week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday on CBS' “Face the Nation.” “We hope that we can have a bipartisan agreement among the eight of us on comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this week,” he said. However, a new visa program for agricultural workers is one of the major outstanding issues on the Senate immigration proposal. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) briefs the Republican conference on the progress on immigration during the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday. Groups representing farm workers and growers (a coalition of growers, including the American Farm Bureau, with the United Farm Workers) are currently arguing over wages and the number of visas in the program. The coalition members were working through the weekend to come to a resolution. Whether they have a plan by early this week could dictate whether the Senate group actually can finish a bill this week. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has promised immediate but thorough consideration of the legislation in committee once it is ready. But GOP senators want extensive hearings, but Leahy said time is of the essence if the bill is to be passed this summer.
In the House, Democrats and Republicans working on an immigration bill are farther behind. They will likely meet this week to discuss the status of immigration legislation after recent staff-level talks.
Several congressional committees will hold hearings this week on key Cabinet posts in the Obama administration. On Tuesday morning, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will examine the nomination of Ernest Moniz, Obama's choice to be energy secretary. Moniz has a record of supporting more traditional fuels, such as nuclear power and natural gas.
Sylvia Burwell, nominated to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, will testify Tuesday afternoon before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Burwell returns to Capitol Hill Wednesday morning to answer questions before the Senate Budget Committee on her nomination to be head of OMB.
On Wednesday, House Republicans kick off their energy-messaging agenda with a hearing on their bill to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline – the controversial $7 billion project that would bring oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast, subject to approval from President Obama.. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would strip the president of his authority to permit the Keystone XL pipeline, giving the final authority instead to Congress. The bill would also grant immediate approval of the permit. The GOP wants to bring the measure to the floor for a vote ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
Questions regarding climate change, ethanol, E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) could be topics addressed by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee panel members when they meet Thursday morning to examine the president's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Gina McCarthy will testify before the committee.
This week's Washington-related agenda: The agenda for congressional committees features hearings to examine the president's budget proposal, confirmation hearings for the Office of Management and Budget nominee Sylvia Burwell, and Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency; Senate Finance Committee hearing on Marilyn Tavenner to head the Center for Medicaid & Medicare services; and several House and Senate Appropriations panels on fiscal 2014 budget requests for federal government programs and agencies.
Monday, April 8
Federal Reserve: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gives the keynote evening speech at the Atlanta Fed's financial-markets conference on "Maintaining Financial Stability: Holding a Tiger by the Tail."
Economic reports: Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve).
USDA reports: Export inspections (AMS) | Livestock & Meat Trade Data (ERS) | US Agricultural Trade Data Update (ERS) | Crop Progress (NASS)
Tuesday, April 9
China: March consumer and producer inflation released.
Federal Reserve: Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacke speaks about "Ending Too Big to Fail Is Going to Be Hard Work" at Global Society of Fellows confab at University of Richmond.
Energy Department nomination: Committee confirmation hearing. Senate Energy and Natural Resources confirmation hearing on the nomination of Ernest Moniz to be secretary of Energy.
State of rural communications: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation — Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet hearing on the state of rural communications.
GAO report on duplicative federal programs: Committee hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled "Reducing Waste in Government: Addressing GAO's [Government Accountability Office] 2013 Report on Duplicative Federal Programs."
OMB nomination: Committee confirmation hearing. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on the nomination of Sylvia M. Burwell to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Animal drug application fee reauthorization: Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Health hearing titled "Reauthorization of Animal Drug User Fees: ADUFA [Animal Drug User Fee Act] and AGDUFA [Animal Drug User Fee Act]."
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales | NFIB Small Business Optimism Index | Wholesale Trade
USDA reports: Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WAOB)
Wednesday, April 10
White House budget plan: President Barack Obama sends his delayed budget plan for Fiscal Year 2014 to Congress, and in the evening will meet with some Republicans about the proposal and other issues.
G8 foreign ministers begin a two-day meeting in London.
Federal Reserve: Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher speaks about economic and monetary policy.
Border security: Committee hearing. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing titled "Border Security: Frontline Perspectives on Progress and Remaining Challenges."
Accountability in US foreign assistance: Committee hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled "U.S. Foreign Assistance: What Oversight Mechanisms are in Place to Ensure Accountability?"
Regulatory approaches to foster economic growth: Subcommittee hearing. House Appropriations — Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing on regulatory approaches to foster economic growth.
Keystone XL pipeline route approval: Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on legislation that would permit the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
US manufacturing issues: Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. Topic: Powering U.S Automobile Manufacturing Forward.
OMB director nomination: Committee confirmation hearing. Senate Budget Committee hearing on the confirmation of the Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Small business tax overhaul: Committee hearing. House Small Business Committee hearing titled "Small Business Tax Reform: Growth Through Simplicity."
Regulation of small financial institutions: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit hearing on how federal regulations affect small financial institutions.
Expanding the Panama Canal: Committee hearing. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing titled "Expanding the Panama Canal: What Does it Mean for American Freight and Infrastructure?"
Energy reports: Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Economic reports: Weekly Mortgage Rates (Freddie Mac) | ICI weekly money market mutual fund data | MBA Purchase Applications | FOMC Minutes | Treasury Budget
USDA reports: Broiler Hatchery (NASS) | National Dairy Products Sales Report (AMS) | WASDE (ERS) | Crop Production (NASS) | Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | World Agricultural Production (FAS) | Grains: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | Cotton, Grains, Oilseeds and World Agricultural Production Data (FAS) | Cotton: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | Season Average Price Forecast (ERS) | Aquaculture Trade Data (ERS)
Thursday, April 11
US policy regarding Syria: Committee hearing. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Role of US in the IMF: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade.
FY 2014 budget: Committee hearing. House Ways and Means Committee hearings on the administration's proposed FY 2014 budget. Witness: Jacob Lew - secretary of the Treasury.
EPA administrator nomination: Committee confirmation hearing. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the confirmation of Gina McCarthy to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
FY 2014 budget: Committee hearing. Senate Budget Committee. Witness: Jeffrey Zients, acting director and deputy director for management, Office of Management and Budget.
FY 2014 budget: Committee hearing. Senate Finance Committee. Witness: Jacob Lew - secretary of the Treasury.
Overhaul of derivatives provisions in Dodd-Frank: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises hearing on legislative proposals that would overhaul derivatives provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act.
Transportation: Weekly Traffic of Major Railroads (Assn. Of American Railroads) | Grain Transportation Report (AMS).
Energy reports: Weekly US underground natural gas stocks (EIA)
Economic reports: Jobless Claims (Labor Dept.) | Import & Export Prices
USDA reports: Export Sales (FAS)
Friday, April 12
EU finance ministers meet in Dublin. Cyprus will be a topic.
FY 2014 Appropriations – CFTC: Subcommittee hearing. House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on FY 2014 funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Witnesses: Gary Gensler, chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); Scott O'Malia, commissioner, CFTC.
Economic reports: Producer Price Index | Retail Sales | Consumer Sentiment | Business Inventories
USDA reports: Wheat Outlook (ERS) | Rice Outlook (ERS) | Oil Crops Outlook (ERS) | Cotton & Wool Outlook (ERS) | Historical Track Records Crop Productions (NASS) | Peanut Prices (NASS) | Feed Grains Outlook (ERS)
NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.