All the key events in this week's beltway soap opera.
Monday, June 13
- 12:30 pm – House Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA) news briefing.
- 1:45 pm – President Obama speaks on the economy. Following a factory tour in North Carolina.
- 2:00 pm – Republican Town Hall on the Economy. Sens. Coburn (R-OK) and Sessions (R-AL) and Rep. Ryan (R-WI) will speak. Coburn was an intial member of the “Gang of Six” but has parted ways; Sen. Sessions and Rep. Ryan are the senior Republicans on the Senate and House budget committees.
- 8:00 pm -- Republican presidential candidates debate. Participants include: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney has led in most recent polls for the Republican nomination. While he trails President Obama by an average of 6 points in recent general election polling, a few polls have shown him to lead the president, including one last week from ABC News which showed him up by 3 points.
Tuesday, June 14
- VP Biden leads fiscal talks. This time the focus is likely to be on discretionary spending, which we expect to be capped for multiple years as part of the eventual debt limit compromise. The pace of talks has increased in light of recent weak economic data. That said, we have not yet seen many signs that the content of the talks has changed in response to recent data, except for a trial balloon floated last week by the administration regarding an employer-side payroll tax cut; so far, the congressional response to that proposal has been tepid.
- Potential votes on ethanol, a “clean” debt limit increase, and Dodd-Frank. The Senate will continue to consider the reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the same bill that Sen. Tester (D-MT) hoped to amend with a delay of the debt interchange restrictions in Dodd-Frank. This week the bill could become a target for additional amendments, including a repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act (offered by Sen. Demint, R-SC) and a clean increase in the debt limit with no spending cuts (potentially offered by Sen. Paul, R-KY). On Tuesday, the Senate looks likely to vote on an amendment from sponsored by Sens. Coburn (R-OK) and Feinstein (D-CA) to repeal the 45/cent gallon tax credit for ethanol, and the 54/cent gallon tariff. Repeal seems unlikely, but it is possible that competing measures that would phase down the value of the credit and tie it to the price of oil could pass.
- Trade Subcommittee Chair Brady speaks on trade deals. Trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea have lost a little momentum due to the ongoing disagreement over extending the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program as a quid pro quo. That said, most observers still expect the deals to be agreed to this year, albeit not by July as originally hoped.
- Fiscal conference. Fed Chairman Bernanke, NEC Director Sperling, Sen. Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Ryan (R-WI) will speak. Hosted by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Wednesday, June 15
- VP Biden leads another round of fiscal talks…
- Fed and OCC testify on financial safety and soundness. Fed Senior Assoc. Dir Foley and OCC Dep. Controller Wilson testify in the Senate Banking Committee. Following a variety of conflicting reports on potential capital surcharges, this hearing could provide some additional news on that front.
- CFTC Chair Gensler testifies on Dodd-Frank implementation. In the Senate Agriculture Committee.
- Defense Sec. Gates and Joint Chiefs Chair Mullen testify on FY12 defense budget. In the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Treasury Sec. Geithner testifies on international financial regulation. In the House Financial Services Committee.
- Balanced budget constitutional amendment. The House Judiciary Committee will vote on a resolution to amend the constitution to require a balanced budget and to limit spending to 20% of GDP. It would allow those rules to be waived with three fifths of each chamber of Congress (in the case of the deficit prohibition, raising the debt limit, or a tax increase) or two thirds (in the case of the 20% of GDP spending limit). The provisions could also be waived in time of war, though there is no similar allowance for economic weakness.
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair and members testify on US nuclear review. They will present preliminary results of their safety review of US facilities following the Fukushima emergency.
Thursday, June 16
- VP Biden leads a third round of fiscal talks this week…
- House takes up Patent Reform bill? The House is readying a patent reform bill for consideration, but it may be pushed until next week given a fairly crowded schedule this week.