By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.


WASHINGTON, June 6 – The U.S. Senate returns on Monday with a series of hearings, while the U.S. House of Representatives is in recess this week.

 With the August 2 deadline -- the drop dead date for when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the $14.3 trillion federal debt limit must be increased---rapidly approaching, you would think members of Congress and the Administration would be focused solely on reaching some type of agreement.

 In fact, last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, began pleading with President Obama to get engaged in the negotiations to get the U.S. debt limit increased, because, "time is running out." The Speaker said: "It is time to get serious about cutting spending and deal with America’s ailing economy."

 Moody's Investors Service said last week that if the two parties fail to make progress soon, it would put the U.S. rating under review for a possible downgrade. The Service cited a "very small but rising risk" that the government will default on its debts.

 Indeed, high level talks with Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders are set to resume June 9. But expectations are even higher for the following week, when President Obama and Speaker Boehner tee off together for what some are calling a “golf summit” on June 18.

 But as Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, the budget negotiations will likely “come down to the wire,” before congressional leaders “get it done.”

 For more hearings and events this week:

 Monday June 6, 2011:

 The Senate is in session at 2 p.m.

 8:30 a.m., Deputy Secretary Merrigan will deliver remarks at the North American Agroforestry Conference in Athens, GA. 

 USDA Reports: 4:00 p.m., Crop Progress.  

 Tuesday June 7, 2011:

 10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Finance, “Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: Revenues”. 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

 10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Full committee will consider S. 512, the Nuclear Power 2021 Act; S. 937, the American Alternative Fuels Act of 2011; and S. 1067, the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative Improvement Act of 2011. 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

 10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Heath, Education, Labor, & Pensions full committee hearing, “Drowning in Debt: Financial Outcomes of Students at For-Profit Colleges”. 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

 2:00 p.m., Secretary Vilsack will make remarks at the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry press event with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Jeff Bridges in Alexandria, VA.

 Wednesday June 8, 2011:

 10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety and Subcommittee on Children’s Health and Environmental Responsibility joint hearing, “Air Quality and Children’s Health” 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

 10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Executive Session on six pieces of legislation and two nominations. 253 Russell Senate Office Building.

 USDA Reports: 3:00 p.m., Broiler Hatchery.

 Thursday June 9, 2011:

 9:30 a.m., Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Full committee hearing on three bills intended to promote energy efficiency and alternative fuel vehicles: S. 963, the Reducing Federal Energy Dollars Act of 2011; S. 1000, a bill to promote energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry; and S. 1001, the Alternative Fuel Vehicles Competitiveness and Energy Security Act of 2011. 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

 10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold a hearing on “Border Corruption: Assessing customs and border protection and the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office collaboration in the fight to prevent corruption”. 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

 2:30 p.m., Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy will receive testimony on critical minerals and materials legislation, including S. 383, the Critical Minerals and Materials Promotion Act of 2011; S. 421, the Power America’s Lithium Production Act of 2011; and S. 1113, the Critical Minerals Policy Act. 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

 USDA Reports: 8:30 a.m., World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, U.S. Export Sales, Crop Production. 10:00 a.m., World Agricultural Production, Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade, Grains: World Markets and Trade, Cotton: World Markets and Trade. 4:00 p.m., Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data, Season-Average Price Forecasts.

 Friday June 10, 2011:

 USDA Reports: 8:30 a.m., Dairy Production and Prices. 10:00 a.m., Livestock and Meat Trade data. 3:00 p.m., Peanut Prices. 4:00 p.m., U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update, Rice Outlook, Cotton and Wool Outlook, and Oil Crops Outlook.

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