The Week Ahead: Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2011

November 27, 2011 08:41 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Senate returns today, House on Tuesday...same lingering issues

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Congress returns (Senate on Monday and the House on Tuesday) to the same issues that have led to mostly inaction for months, but Fiscal Year 2012 spending issues must be dealt with to some degree by Dec. 16, when the current continuing resolution (CR) expires for the nine remaining appropriations bill, most of which will likely become part of an omnibus spending measure with potential surprise add-ons.

The Senate this week resumes consideration of the more than $600 billion Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bill (HR 1867). With nearly 90 amendments pending prior to the Thanksgiving recess, the Senate will spend the entire week debating the bill and amendments.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) previously indicated that the Senate could return to the consideration of the FY 2012 energy and water appropriations bill (HR 2354) during the week of Nov. 28. Reid set the energy and water funding bill aside after the leaders failed to reach an agreement on a limit on the number of amendments to be offered.

The House will debate two regulatory reform measures that would reform the federal regulatory process. One of the items, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (HR 527), introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), would require all agencies to create small business regulatory panels and analyze indirect economic costs of their rules. The bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee in early July, with all Democrats voting no.

The House GOP leadership also wants to consider the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 (HR 3010), which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 3. It would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies to analyze a broader array of costs imposed by new rules at the proposal stage, including indirect economic impacts on industry sectors not directly regulated. Introduced by Smith in September, the bill also would give industries more avenues for challenging rules in court and revive the practice of requiring "formal" rulemakings to include hearings at which agency officials would have to defend their proposals in person.

The House will consider a rule but will not likely hold a debate this week on another reform measure (HR 10), which would require any rules coming from the executive branch to have no force or effect unless by a joint resolution of approval of Congress. The legislation is called the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (or REINS Act).

The House will also debate campaign finance bills that would cut off federal funding for presidential campaigns and eliminate the Election Assistance Commission.

The House will also consider a bill (HR 3094) that would amend the National Labor Relations Act with respect to representation hearings and the timing of elections of labor organizations under that law.

Farm bill issues will likely take the form of various statements and releases from lawmakers following failure of the Super Committee and an effort by the two Ag panel leaders to link a new bill to the aborted debt reduction package.

A markup session will be held on farm dust legislation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hearing opening statements on Tuesday, with actual markup on Wednesday on HR 1633, Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011.

The House Financial Services Committee will meet Wednesday morning to mark up several financial reform measures, including a bill (HR 2779) that would exempt inter-affiliate swaps from certain regulatory requirements put in place by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The full committee also plans to mark up the Swaps Execution Facility Clarification Act (HR 2586), which would refine the definition of swap execution facility in the provisions regulating swap markets, and a bill (HR 3213), known as the Small Company Job Growth and Regulatory Relief Act, to amend the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to provide additional exemptions from the internal control auditing requirements for smaller and newer public companies.

This week's Washington-related agenda: The agenda for congressional committees features hearings on oversight of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law (Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro have been invited as witnesses), Federal Communications Commission nominations, markup of FCC reform legislation, transparency of stimulus funds, and a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution.

Monday, Nov. 28
Senate returns.
US-EU summit:
A US-EU summit takes place in Washington with President Barack Obama holding talks with Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief. Topics will include global economic issues, bilateral relations and foreign policy concerns.
US budget and economy:
Univ. of Maryland. Speaker: Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Economic outlook:
The OECD releases its economic outlook.
Elections, Egypt:
Egypt is scheduled to hold its first round of parliamentary elections.
Greenhouse-gas reductions:
A United Nations conference in South Africa will focus on greenhouse-gas reductions. The 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN framework convention on climate change takes place in the South African city of Durban (until December 9) amid low expectations of success.
Economic reports:
Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve) | New Home Sales.
USDA reports:
Export inspections (AMS) | Monthly Milk Cost of Production (ERS) | Crop Progress (NASS).

Tuesday, Nov. 29
Congress: House returns.
Farm dust: Markup. House Energy and Commerce Committee will markup HR 1633, Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011. (Opening statements, actual markup on Wed., Nov. 30.)
Europe: Finance ministers of the Eurogroup, the European Union states whose currency is the euro, meet in Brussels. The ministers will likely focus on Greece, Italy, the bailout fund and European Union monetary overhauls.
Portugal takes a final budget vote.
Europe bond auction: Italy and Belgium auction bonds.
Emerging ‘green’ world: The role of emerging economies in establishing an environmentally sustainable world economy is debated at a conference in Geneva (until December 1). The event is co-organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
World agriculture: The World Agricultural Forum holds its annual congress in Brussels (until December 1), wit its theme the need to rethink agriculture to sustain a growing global population.
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales | S&P Case-Shiller HPI | Consumer Confidence.
USDA reports: Farm Sector & Household Income Forecast (ERS) | Fruit & Tree Nuts Outlook (ERS).

Wednesday, Nov. 30
New trading rules:
Partial rules banning "naked access," where electronic traders bypass brokerage firms, take effect.
EU finance ministers:
The Economic and Financial Affairs Council assembles in Brussels to debate the euro-zone debt crisis and growth prospects. EU capital requirements for banks will also be on the agenda.
Stimulus oversight update:
Subcommittee oversight hearing. House Science, Space and Technology — Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight.
River management in 2012 and beyond:
Subcommittee hearing. House Transportation and Infrastructure — Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing entitled, "The Missouri River Flood: An Assessment of River Management in 2012 and Operational Plans for the Future."
Oversight of Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:
Committee oversight hearing. Senate Agriculture Committee. Witnesses: Gary Gensler, chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Mary Schapiro, chairwoman, Securities and Exchange Commission.
Energy reports:
Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Economic reports: Weekly mortgage applications (Labor Dept.) | ADP Employment Report | Productivity and Costs | Chicago PMI | Pending Home Sales Index | Beige Book.
USDA reports: Broiler Hatchery (NASS) | Peanut Stocks and Processing (NASS) | N. American Potatoes (NASS) | Egg Products (NASS) | Agricultural Prices (NASS) | Outlook for US Agricultural Trade (ERS).

Thursday, Dec. 1
Europe bond auction: Spain and France auction bonds.
Financial Stability Oversight Council:
The council hears from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on measurement.
Strategic objectives towards Iran: Committee hearing. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
USDA audit oversight: Subcommittee hearing. House Agriculture — Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight and Credit hearing to review updates on USDA audits, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud detection efforts and information technology compliance.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac oversight: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Transportation: Weekly Traffic of Major Railroads (Assn. Of American Railroads).
Energy reports: Weekly US underground natural gas stocks (EIA).
Economic reports: Jobless Claims (Labor Dept.) | Weekly Mortgage Rates (Freddie Mac) | ICI weekly money market mutual fund data | ISM Mfg. Index | Motor Vehicle Sales | Construction Spending.
USDA reports: Export Sales (FAS) | Grain Transportation Report (AMS) | Dairy Products (NASS).

Friday, Dec. 2
American Energy Initiative: Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Topic: Expediting the Keystone XL Pipeline: Energy Security and Jobs.
Economic reports: Employment.
USDA reports: Dairy Products Prices (NASS) | Peanut Prices (NASS).

Sunday, Dec. 4
Elections, Russia:
Russia holds parliamentary elections. s


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






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