The Week Ahead: Sep. 12-16, 2011

September 12, 2011 04:12 AM
 

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

USDA reports | Super Committee meets | Transportation | FY 2012 appropriations | Tax reform | Jobs plan | Rural development | Food security | Ag workforce | Feed availability

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

Highlights of this week's Washington agenda include: Key USDA reports, a slew of economic reports, another Super Committee meeting, and congressional debate on disaster relief, transportation issues, FY 2012 appropriations, tax reform, the proposed jobs program, an audit of USDA's rural development programs, food security, ag workforce challenges and feed availability and its effect on the livestock and poultry industries.

Both chambers are scheduled for only about 40 more legislative days before Thanksgiving. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he might cancel part of a weeklong break at the end of September. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told National Journal that he has no plans to scrap this month’s break, which includes Rosh Hashanah.

The Super Committee meets for the second time this week, on Tuesday morning. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), a committee member, said he believes the deficit panel will even have to complete its work by the end of October to have its final package ready by the deadline.

Senate Democrats said they want to take up as soon as possible a jobs-creation proposal outlined Sept. 8 by President Obama, who will formally send the measure to Congress this evening. The bill in its entirety is expected to face a Senate filibuster which would then likely lead to Individual pieces moving.

President Obama on Tuesday will pitch his jobs program in a drip to Columbus, Ohio, just 60-miles from House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) home in Huber Heights. Obama will travel to the Raleigh-Durham area on Wednesday, the White House announced.

House leaders on Friday struck a deal to extend temporarily expiring laws governing highways. Leaders agreed on details of a bill that would authorize programs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through January 2012 and surface transportation laws through March. Last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a four-month surface transportation extension (S 1525). Highway programs would be funded at the FY 2011 rate — $41.7 billion — considerably above the $27 billion approved in their budget earlier this year. The FAA would get about $5.4 billion for the four-month period beginning in October and ending Jan. 31.

House Republicans plan to bring legislation to the floor this week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he is waiting to see what the House does on the transportation extensions before deciding what to bring next to the Senate floor. Still, both chambers are likely to take up the bill this week ahead of a Sept. 16 deadline to keep FAA operating.

Reid announced plans to bring up a standalone appropriations bill to provide emergency funding for the Federal Emergency Management Administration's Disaster Relief Fund. Reid said the legislation would be funded by pulling $6 billion from the FY 2012 homeland security appropriations bill (HR 2017), which was reported Sept. 7 by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Senate could begin consideration of the emergency disaster funding bill as early as Tuesday.

The House likely will consider a resolution of disapproval related to President Obama's raising of the debt limit. The Senate on Friday rejected the motion to proceed to consideration of a similar resolution of disapproval on a vote of 45-52. Congressional consideration of these resolutions of disapproval was a provision included in the Budget Control Act, which gave Congress the option of disapproving the president's request to increase the debt ceiling.

The House also is expected to debate the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act (HR 2587) during the week. That legislation, reported by the House Education and the Workforce Committee in July, would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employees for any reason.

Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan will be among the witnesses scheduled to testify before a Senate Finance subcommittee during a Tuesday afternoon hearing on tax reform. The panel will examine whether there is a role for tax reform in comprehensive deficit reduction and fiscal policy.

The Senate Finance Committee meets Wednesday morning for a hearing on tax reform options, focusing on marginal rates on high-income taxpayers, capital gains, and dividends.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf will appear as a witness during a hearing Tuesday morning of the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee (Super Committee). The committee, which is charged with cutting $1.5 trillion from the budget deficit over the next ten years, will examine the history and drivers of the national debt.

On the agriculture front, there will be three hearings on Tuesday covering an audit of USDA rural development programs, workforce challenges facing the agriculture industry, and responding to threats against the agriculture and food system. On Wednesday there will be a hearing on hearing on the issue of feed availability and its effect on the livestock and poultry industries – some groups may propose an "off ramp" for the corn-based ethanol mandate, depending on the stocks/use ratio of corn.


Key economic, energy, USDA reports and topics and congressional hearings this week include:

Monday, Sep. 12

Jobs program plan to Congress: President Obama will hold a Rose Garden event to discuss his American Jobs Act and will send it to Congress in the evening.
GOP presidential candidate debate: Republican candidates for president debate in Tampa, Fla.
Federal Reserve: Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher speaks on monetary policy at the National Association for Business Economics annual meeting, in Dallas.
UK prime minister visits Moscow: David Cameron, UK prime minister, holds talks in Moscow with Vladimir Putin, Russia’s premier. Cameron will also meet Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president, during his visit, which aims to repair relations between the two countries damaged by the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy, in London.
Nominations: Confirmation hearing. Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on pending nominations: Michael Punke to be deputy US Trade Representative with rank of ambassador | Paul Piquado to be assistant secretary of Commerce for import administration | David Sohanson to be a member, US International Trade Commission | Joseph Gale to be a Judge of the US Tax Court | Issi Siddiqui to be chief agricultural negotiator, Office of the US Trade Representative, with the rank of Ambassador.
Economic reports:Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve).
USDA reports: Export inspections (AMS) | Crop Production (NASS) | World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (ERS) | Cotton Ginnings (NASS) Cotton: World Markets and Trade (FAS) World Agricultural Production (FAS) | Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade (FAS) Grains: World Markets and Trade (FAS) Season-Average Price Forecasts (ERS) Aquaculture Data (ERS) | Crop Progress (NASS).

Tuesday, Sep. 13

Super Committee: Congress' Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka Super Committee), which is charged with lowering the federal government's sea of red ink by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, meets for the second time. The panel will hear from Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office.
House special elections: House special elections take place in New York City for former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) seat and a Republican-leaning House race in Nevada. In the New York race, a poll out last week showed Republican candidate Bob Turner up by six points over Democrat David Weprin.
UN assembles in New York: The General Assembly of the UN opens its 66th session in New York.
Audit of USDA rural development programs: Subcommittee hearing. House Agriculture — Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture.
Workforce challenges facing agriculture industry: Subcommittee hearing. House Education and the Workforce — Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
Responding to threats against the agriculture and food system: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs — Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia.
Economic and job creation proposal: Subcommittee hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform — Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending hearing titled Take Two: The President's Proposal to Stimulate the Economy and Create Jobs.
Regulation and oversight of broker-dealers and investment advisers: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises hearing on the regulation and oversight of broker-dealers and investment advisers, focusing on studies mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act on the effectiveness of standards of care applicable to broker-dealers and investment advisers, and on the need for enhanced examination and enforcement resources for investment advisers.
Tax overhaul, deficit reduction and fiscal policy: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Finance — Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth hearing titled Examining Whether There is a Role for Tax Reform in Comprehensive Deficit Reduction and US Fiscal Policy. Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan will be among the witnesses.
Free Competition in Currency Act: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology. HR 1098.
Energy and mineral resources legislation: Subcommittee hearing. House Natural Resources — Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. HR 2360 | HR 2752 | HR 2803.s
Housing finance issues: Committee hearing. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on housing finance overhaul, focusing on the issue of government guarantees.
Energy reports: Weekly National Petroleum Report (API).
Economic reports: Import and Export Prices | Treasury Budget.
USDA reports: Cotton and Wool Outlook (ERS) Oil Crops Outlook (ERS) Rice Outlook (ERS).

Wednesday, Sep. 14

Greece audit: EU, ECB and IMF auditors will return to Greece to assess if the country will meet funding conditions to receive its next 110 billion euro installment of financial aid. The audit is expected to take up to two weeks.
World Bank speech: World Bank President Robert Zoellick speaks about the changing world economy at George Washington University.
Impact of feed availability: Subcommittee hearing. House Agriculture — Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry hearing on the issue of feed availability and its effect on the livestock and poultry industries.
American Energy Initiative: Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
Regulatory oversight and economic impact of regulations: Committee hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Tax overhaul options: Committee hearing. Senate Finance Committee.
Tax overhaul issues: Committee hearing. House Budget Committee.
FY 2012 appropriations: Financial Services: Subcommittee markup. Senate Appropriations — Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. Draft bill.
Refinancing and restructuring mortgage loans: Subcommittee hearing. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs — Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development.
Water resources bills: Subcommittee hearing. House Natural Resources — Subcommittee on Water and Power. HR 200 | HR 2842.
Loan guarantee for Solyndra: The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigations subcommittee holds a hearing probing the $535 million loan guarantee the Energy Department awarded to Solyndra in May 2009. The company declared bankruptcy last month, and laid off 1,100 employees. Last week, the FBI raided the company’s California headquarters as part of a joint investigation with the Energy Department’s inspector general office.
Energy reports: Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA) | Monthly oil market report (EIA).
Economic reports: Weekly mortgage applications (Labor Dept.)Producer Price Index | Retail Sales | Business Inventories.
USDA reports: Wheat Outlook (ERS) | Feed Outlook (ERS) Broiler Hatchery (ERS).

Thursday, Sep. 15

Swiss National Bank interest rate announcement.
Boehner economic address: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) addresses the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
Economic policy: Committee hearing. Senate Budget Committee.
FY 2012 appropriations: Financial Services: Committee markup. Senate Appropriations Committee. Draft bill.
FY 2012 appropriations: Commerce, Justice, State: Committee markup. Senate Appropriations Committee. Draft bill.
FY 2012 appropriations: Legislative Branch: Committee markup. Senate Appropriations Committee. Draft bill.
EPA cross-state air pollution rule: Committee hearing. House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Small business investment barriers: Subcommittee hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform — Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs.
Role of small businesses in rebuilding after disasters: Committee hearing. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
SEC oversight: Committee confirmation hearing. House Financial Services Committee hearing titled Fixing the Watchdog: Legislative Proposals to Improve and Enhance the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Review of health overhaul bill regulations: Subcommittee hearing. Fixing the Watchdog: Legislative Proposals to Improve and Enhance the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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 | Consumer Price Index | Empire Stage Mfg. Survey | Industrial Production | Phila. Fed Survey.
USDA reports: Export Sales (FAS) | Grain Transportation Report (AMS) Meat Price Spreads (ERS) | Turkey Hatchery (NASS) | Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook (ERS).

Friday, Sep. 16

EU finance ministers meet: European finance ministers gather for a two-day informal meeting of the EU economic and financial affairs council.
Economic reports: Treasury International Capital | Consumer Sentiment.
USDA reports: Dairy Products Prices (NASS) | Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (ERS) | Peanut Prices (NASS) Livestock Historical Track Records (NASS).
 

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