The Week Ahead: July 30-Aug. 5, 2012

July 29, 2012 11:31 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Farm bill extension linked with ag disaster relief on House agenda this week

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Must-have bills or debates before the long summer recess will be the focus this week, including a House GOP attempt for a combined farm bill extension and agriculture disaster bill, a House debate on tax cuts, and Senate action on a cybersecurity bill. After this week's close of business, both chambers will be in recess until Sept. 10. The Republican National Convention will take place from Aug. 27-30; the Democratic National Convention is Sept. 3-6.

The House Rules Committee late Tuesday will hold a hearing on the coming farm bill/ag aid package, which will have a vote as soon as Wednesday. A closed rule is likely. The bill would include disaster assistance for livestock farmers and growers of specialty crops and vegetables. But it is unknown if House leaders have the 218 votes needed for passage. For that to happen, more than a few Democratic members must vote for the package and that is also a major unknown. House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) has said that disaster aid is needed but that the best way to go about it would be through the five-year farm bill, because costs would be offset by other spending cuts in the legislation. Another option is a stand-alone disaster relief package.

In the Senate, members are expected to begin debating a cybersecurity bill (S 3414). Also, tax extenders legislation could be ready for floor consideration later in the week.

House GOP leaders want votes on competing tax bills this week, just as the Senate did last week. House leaders seem willing to allow House Democrats to bring up a Senate-passed bill (S 3412) along with the House GOP version (HR 8). House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that House Democrats will be able to bring up the Senate bill, which passed that chamber July 25 on a 51-48 vote. That bill would allow the temporary 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire for upper-income earners. Republicans, will counter the Senate-passed bill by bringing up two separate bills dealing with tax breaks and tax reform. The separate reform bill (HR 6169) would provide for a process to overhaul the tax code. The bill would implement expedited procedures to allow tax reform to bypass technical procedural hurdles in 2013. Under the bill, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman must introduce a tax reform bill by April 30, 2013.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made the cybersecurity bill a top priority in the Senate for the week, after senators agreed July 26 by an 84-11 vote to end debate on the motion to proceed to the bill. The measure would establish a new government program to encourage "critical infrastructure" operators to adopt cybersecurity best practices. A previous version called for the Department of Homeland Security to issue mandatory cybersecurity standards for such entities. Several Republicans have introduced competing legislation (S 3342), called the SECURE IT Act.

Regarding tax extenders, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has been trying to develop a bill that might be taken up before the recess. An alternative would be to consider it in September, he said.

Lawmakers in both chambers could consider an Iran sanctions bill during the week.

The futures markets will be the topic on Wednesday when the Senate Ag Committee will hold a hearing on the failures of MF Global and the Peregrine Financial Group, and receive testimony from Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, James Giddens, trustee for the Securities Investment Protection Act Liquidation of MF Global, Inc., and others.

This week's Washington-related agenda: The agenda for congressional committees features hearings on corporation taxation, state sales tax collection, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight, the future of the eurozone, MF Global and Peregrine Financial, and a markup of securities bills.

Monday, July 30
Greece: Greek politicians meet to discuss cuts in their 2013-2014 budget needed to qualify for further bailout funds.
Livestock, poultry groups teleconference: Officials from livestock and poultry groups host a teleconference to seek relief from drought, and expected corn shortage. Reports indicate the group may request an ethanol RFS mandate waiver.
Economic reports: Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve)
USDA reports:
Export inspections (AMS) | Crop Progress (NASS) | Peanuts Stocks and Processing (NASS)

Tuesday, July 31
FOMC: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) starts a two-day meeting to consider federal-funds and discount-rate targets.
Venezuela due to join trade bloc: Mercosur, the trade bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, holds a summit in Rio de Janeiro where Venezuela’s entry to the customs union is due to be confirmed.
Rule on farm bill extension, ag disaster aid: House Rule panel meets to consider a rule to debate and vote on a bill that would extend for one year the 2008 Farm Bill and provide ag disaster aid focused on the livestock sector.
CFPB report to Congress: Committee hearing. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on the semi-annual report to Congress of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Rural water projects: Committee hearing. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on legislation that would authorize funding for rural water projects.
Clean Air Act implementation: Subcommittee forum. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a series of forums titled "State, Local and Federal Cooperation under the Clean Air Act." The sessions will provide an opportunity for members of Congress to hear a broad range of perspectives from experts about their experiences in implementing the Clean Air Act. Another forum on Aug. 2.
Energy reports: Weekly National Petroleum Report (API).
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales | Personal Income and Outlays | Employment Cost Index | S&P Shiller HPI | Chicago PMI | Consumer Confidence
USDA reports: Agricultural Prices (NASS) | Egg Products (NASS)

Wednesday, Aug. 1
House floor debate, vote on farm bill extension/ag aid: The House could vote as early as today on a bill to extend for one year the 2008 Farm Bill, linked with ag disaster aid focused on the livestock sector.
Energy and Commerce bills: Committee markup. House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up pending legislation. HR 6213 — A bill to limit further taxpayer exposure from the loan guarantee program established under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. HR 6190 — A bill to direct the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to allow for the distribution, sale and consumption in the United States of remaining inventories of over-the-counter CFC epinephrine inhalers. HR 6194 — A bill to ensure the viability and competitiveness of the United States agricultural sector. S 710 — Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act. HR 6131 — A bill to extend the Undertaking Spam, Spyware and Fraud Enforcement with Enforcers beyond Borders Act of 2006, and for other purposes.
MF Global and accountability in the futures markets: Committee hearing. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee a hearing on MF Global Holdings Ltd., a financial derivatives broker that filed for bankruptcy in 2011, focusing on accountability in the futures markets. The panel also will review the recent collapse of Peregrine Financial Group, and how customer protections can be strengthened to prevent future misuse of customer funds in the futures markets. First panel witnesses: Gary Gensler, chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); Jill Sommers, member, CFTC; James Giddens, trustee for the liquidation of MF Global Inc.; Ira Bodenstein, bankruptcy trustee for Peregrine Financial Group Inc.
Climate change science and local adaptation measures: Committee hearing. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Relationship between business and research universities: Subcommittee hearing. House Science, Space and Technology — Subcommittee on Research and Science Education.
Taxation of business entities: Committee hearing. Senate Finance Committee focusing on the different taxation of business entities structured as corporations versus passthroughs, and to consider proposals to alter those rules.
Impact of CFPB on small business: Committee hearing. House Small Business Committee.
Taxation of internet sales: Committee hearing. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing focusing on legislation relating to the taxation of sales made over the Internet.
Future of Euro zone: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Foreign Relations — Subcommittee on European AffairsSubcommittee hearing on the future of the Eurozone, focusing on the outlook and lessons learned.
Energy reports: Weekly US underground natural gas stocks (EIA) | Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Economic reports: Motor vehicle sales | ISM Mfg Index | PMI Mfg Index | Construction Spending | ICI weekly money market mutual fund data | MBA Purchase Applications | ADP Employment Report | FOMC meeting announcement
USDA reports: Broiler Hatchery (NASS) | Dairy Products (NASS)

Thursday, Aug. 2
ECB: The European Central Bank's governing council announces interest rates and holds a press conference.
'American Energy Initiative': Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Topic: Current production trends and the key differences in developing domestic energy resources on federal lands compared to non-federal lands.
Parallel currencies and alternative forms of money: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology hearing on parallel currencies and the emergence of alternative forms of money. Parallel currencies are currently being considered in Europe in response to economic distress.
Economic reports: Jobless Claims (Labor Dept) | | Factory Orders | Weekly Mortgage Rates (Freddie Mac)
Transportation: Grain Transportation Report (AMS).
USDA reports: Export Sales (FAS) | Farm Production Expenditures (NASS)

Friday, Aug. 3

US Congress recesses until Sept. 10: Both houses of the US Congress are scheduled to recess for the summer, returning on Sept. 10.
Economic reports:
Employment | ISM Non-Mfg Index
USDA reports: Peanut Prices (NASS) Land Values (NASS) Quick Stats Database Cash Rents (NASS)


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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