Previewing This Week's Circuses... If Not So Much Bread

With the US economy in free fall, European liquidity imploding, NASA on beneficially inclined and extremely solvent extraterrestrial life alert (someone has to bailout the world after all), at least we have political circuses, if not so much bread... or cake. Here is what DC has in store for us over the next five days. Luckily, we can forget our trials and tribulations tonight when 8 pm brings with it the second Republican presidential address in which Ron Paul will once again be the undisputed winner and will be largely ignored by everyone in the mainstream, financially-funded media.

Monday, September 12

  • Today/tonight – President Obama sends American Jobs Act to Congress. The President is expected to make remarks from the Rose Garden at some point today before he submits the legislation to Congress, but no time has been announced.  Over the last several days, the Republican response to President Obama’s request to extend the payroll tax cut has been fairly supportive, though there has been less said about expanding the tax cut (from $110bn per year to $175bn) or providing new tax relief for small businesses (totaling $65bn).
  • 8:00 pm – Republican presidential debate. This debate may receive a little less attention than last week’s, now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is no longer a newcomer to the race.

Tuesday, September 13

  • Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction hears testimony on drivers of debt from CBO Director Doug Elmendorf.   Elmendorf is likely to tell the committee that the primary driver of deficits over the longer term will be health spending, but thus far there are few signs that either party’s appointees to the committee are interested in fundamentally reforming Medicare or Medicaid as part of this process, though they may consider some more technical changes to those programs, potentially borrowed from the items that were discussed in the Biden-Cantor debt limit talks but not included in the final debt limit legislation.
  • President Obama speaks on the economy in Ohio….
  • Senate begins consideration of highway bill extension. The Senate will consider a four-month extension of the highway program, which funds over $40bn per year in infrastructure spending.  The program expires Sept. 30, and expiration would mean a lapse in the gasoline tax (which funds the highway program) as well as a lapse in matching payments to states and localities.  The House is also expected to pass an extension this week.
  • Former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on tax reform.  The committee has invested significant time in the tax reform issue, though it is not clear whether either it or the super committee can tackle this issue with efforts still at a preliminary stage.
  • Repeal of EPA regulations. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will vote on legislation that would delay EPA rules restricting air pollution from industrial boilers.  The committee will also consider a separate bill dealing with cement plants.  These are expected to pass the House soon, but will face opposition in the Senate.
  • Special elections in New York and Nevada.   In the New York 9th District recently vacated by former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Republican candidate Bob Turner has held a consistent 5 to 6 point lead in polls conducted over the last two weeks.  In the last two presidential elections, the votes for Democratic candidates in this district exceeded the national average by 5%; if the Republican candidate wins in NY-9, it will be the second most Democratic-leaning district held by a Republican on this measure. In the Nevada 2nd District, which leans heavily Republican, polls suggest the Republican candidate, Mark Amodei is expected to cruise to an easy victory.

Wednesday, September 14

  • President Obama speaks on the economy in North Carolina...

Thursday, September 15

  • House Speaker Boehner speaks on the economy.  He will speak at a lunch event hosted by the Economic Club of Washington.
  • Mortgage Bankers Assoc. testifies on mortgage refinancing proposals.  David Stevens, who recently led the FHA, will testify on behalf of the Mortgage Bankers Association on "New Ideas for Refinancing and Restructuring Mortgage Loans."  While the FHFA and the Obama Administration are clearly working on a new refinancing program to increase refinancing through the GSEs, at this point it appears that the scope of the program will be fairly limited.
  • Senate Budget Committee hearing on economic policy and the President’s jobs proposal.  Private sector economists will testify.
  • SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro testifies in House Financial Services.
  • House votes on National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) rules.  The bill, HR 2597, would prohibit the NLRB from addressing issues related to where a company locates operations. It is likely to face opposition in the Senate.

From Goldman


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