The Washington week ahead: House moving fast to curb federal 'overreach'

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Feb. 6 - The Senate will be out of town this week for a Democratic issues conference. Meanwhile the House will be working overtime, as shown by the long list below which includes only those hearings with potential impacts on agriculture. The topics of the House hearings show a very high level of interest in not just reconsidering healthcare reform and EPA greenhouse gas regulations but actually recouping money obligated but not yet spent for projects like rural broadband expansion. As part of this roll-back effort, on Thursday the House Agriculture Committee will take a close look at the raft of new regulations in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Perhaps not unrelated to that aggressive House effort to reverse a number of key administration policies, President Obama travels all the way across the White House front lawn and Lafayette Square Monday to meet with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at their imposing headquarters facing the White House. While the House under its new Republican leadership is gearing up to spotlight and hopefully remove federal regulations it considers barriers to economic growth, the White House has launched its own effort to review all government regulations, creating an area of potential agreement with the Chamber.

So all eyes will be focused first on the House Rules Committee Tuesday, then on the full House on Thursday, when work starts on a House resolution that would order House committees to review the effect of federal regulations on jobs and economic growth.

Across town, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will be meeting with a more supportive crowd at the “2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference” which runs Tuesday through Thursday. This year's conference will highlight successful state and local green-job initiatives, including the Green Infrastructure Model through smart transportation and urban development. Along with Jackson, speakers will include Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

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On Wednesday, a House Ways & Means Committee hearing on President Obama's Trade Policy Agenda will consider current trade issues including the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea; addressing the full range of issues impeding American companies from selling U.S. goods and services in China and distorting trade flows through unfair trade practices; the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations; and prospects for trade expansion in agriculture, industrial goods, and services through the Doha Round negotiations.

Other key events and meetings this week:

Tuesday, Feb. 8

  • U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk will meet with the Commissioner for EU Agriculture, Dacian Cioloş

  • House Rules Committee markup of a resolution “Directing certain standing committees to inventory and review existing, pending, and proposed regulations and orders from agencies of the Federal Government, particularly with respect to their effect on jobs and economic growth.”

Wednesday, Feb. 9

  • House Budget Committee hearing on The State of the U.S. Economy, with Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, focused on the economy, jobs and the budget.

  • House Ways & Means Committee hearing on President Obama's Trade Policy Agenda, including the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea and prospects for trade expansion in agriculture through the Doha negotiations, with U.S. Trade Representative Kirk testifying

  • House Energy Committee hearing on the Energy Tax Prevention Act, a bill to block the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

  • House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on “Can Monetary Policy Really Create Jobs?”

  • House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on “GSE Reform: Immediate Steps to Protect Taxpayers and End the Bailout”

  • House Education Committee hearing on “The Impact of the Health Care Law on the Economy, Employers, and the Workforce”

  • USDA Reports: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Season-Average Price Forecasts, Cotton Ginnings, Crop Production, Broiler Hatchery

Thursday, Feb. 10

  • As the administration continues work on more free trade agreements, Ambassador Kirk will meet with the Vice President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela.

  • House Agriculture Committee business meeting to consider the Committee's Oversight Plan for the 112th Congress.

  • House Agriculture Committee hearing to review implementation of title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

  • House Budget Committee hearing on the Congressional Budget Office's Budget and Economic Outlook, with CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf

  • House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on “E-Verify- Preserving Jobs for American Workers”

  • House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the “Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011 - Unleashing Small Businesses to Create Jobs”

  • House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearing on “The Effects of Middle East Events on U.S. Energy Markets”

  • House Oversight Committee hearing on “Regulatory Impediments To Job Creation”

  • House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearing on “ARRA Broadband Spending to discuss draft legislation that would increase accountability for broadband spending allocated under the stimulus and return unused or reclaimed funds to the U.S. Treasury”

  • USDA Reports: Oil Crops Outlook, Rice Outlook

Friday, Feb. 11

  • House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on “Preventing Chemical Terrorism: Building A Foundation of Security At Our Nation's Chemical Facilities”

  • House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearing on “Improving Oil Spill Prevention and Response, Restoring Jobs, and Ensuring our Energy Security: Recommendations from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling”

  • USDA Reports: Wheat Outlook; Feed Outlook; Dairy Products Prices; Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations; Peanut Prices; Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data

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