Weekly Playbill For The Ongoing Tragicomic Melodrama In Washington - Week Of June 20

From Goldman Sachs

Not a great deal on the political calendar this week, with fiscal talks led by VP Joe "NFP of 500,000 coming any... minute... now..." Biden expected nearly every day starting tomorrow.

Monday, June 20

  • 4:20 pm -- President Obama meets with bipartisan group of mayors.

Tuesday, June 21

  • Senate votes on Economic Development Act (EDA) reauthorization. This bill has been a target for unrelated amendments, including the one that the Senate passed last week to repeal ethanol subsidies as of July 1.  At this point it looks more likely that this vote will fail, which would stall the bill in the Senate. If the vote succeeds and the Senate ultimately passes the bill, the House may nevertheless block it due to procedural issues (most notably, the fact that the House must originate revenue measures, and by including the ethanol subsidy repeal the bill now affects the tax code).
  • Treasury Sec. Geithner, House Ways and Means Chair Camp, and “Gang of Six” members Sens. Warner (D-VA) and Chambliss (R-GA) speak.  At the Wall St. Journal CFO Conference. 
  • FDIC meets on Dodd-Frank rules related to resolution of systemically important financial companies.

Wednesday, June 22

  • House considers patent reform bill? Conflicts among industries prevented passage of this bill in the last Congress, and the same thing seems to be happening this time, as well as disagreements over how the patent award system should be funded.  The bill was expected to be considered in the House last week but was postponed; it is back on the schedule this week but passage is unclear.  The Senate passed a bill similar to the House’s in March by a wide margin. 
  • Medicare trustees testify.  Medicare trustees Charles Blahous and Robert Reischauer testify on the 2011 Trustees Report in the House Ways and Means Committee. The report came out a few weeks ago, but the hearing is more relevant than usual given ongoing fiscal discussions that focus, among other things, on identifying savings from Medicare. 

Thursday, June 23

  • Locke Nomination for Ambassador to China.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hear from Secretary Locke, and will probably probe him on economic relations with China, given his current role as Commerce Secretary (where he has jurisdiction over import duties, and is involved indirectly in the currency dispute). 
  • Role of Medicare and Medicaid in deficit reduction.   Of interest will be whether committee Democrats signal an opening on reducing spending in these areas, and whether they support any increase in cost sharing for program beneficiaries. So far, there are lots of ideas on the table in the Biden talks, but little agreement thus far on Medicare, particularly over whether cost-sharing should be adjusted or whether savings should only come from healthcare provider reimbursement changes. In the Senate Finance Committee. 
  • CBO Director Elmendorf testifies on the long term budget outlook. CBO will release its latest long-term budget outlook report, which includes projections of entitlement imbalances, and the broader fiscal imbalance, through the middle of the century. In the House Budget Committee. 
  • Tax reform and foreign investment in the US.  The House Ways and Means Committee will hold another hearing on tax reform, this time focused on corporate tax reform and its international implications. Most observers concede that the debt limit negotiations are unlikely to be an appropriate vehicle for enacting tax reform.     

Friday, June 24

  • FDIC Chair Bair speaks at the National Press Club.  Sheila Bair leaves her post on July 8 and her address is expected to be retrospective in nature, but is likely to touch on some of the key issues of the day including orderly liquidation authority and bank capital levels. 



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