What’s ahead for Washington this week: BP still public enemy number one

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 13 – As estimates of the total hurt from a single offshore oil well blowout mount into the tens of billions, expect to hear plenty more this week. Top BP officials will be grilled on Capitol Hill and summoned to a White House meeting with President Obama this week. And following another Gulf Coast visit Monday and Tuesday, President Obama will address the nation Tuesday evening to deliver his latest views on what to do about BP, likely making use of the occasion to reiterate his pitch for renewable energy.

In congressional hearings, Democrats will be demanding more guarantees that BP pay for everything, without any more low-balling or stalling. Republicans will argue against compounding the damage by any further delays in allowing offshore drilling to get back up to speed quickly. Meanwhile, Bill Gates has joined the fray, calling for a tripling of investment in renewable energy. It could be that this Gates initiative, coupled with the no-end-in-sight BP blowout, will be enough to give still problematic climate legislation the boost it needs to get signed into law this year.

On Monday, even before zeroing in on BP, the Senate kicks off its week by resuming floor consideration of H.R.4213, the tax extenders legislation that’s needed to restart the biodiesel industry – and that also tackles scores of other key economic recovery issues.

On Tuesday, the House/Senate conference to resolve differences between the two chambers’ separate versions of financial reform legislation gets down to serious work on a compromise. Last week, Republicans and Democrats painted sharply contrasting pictures of what should be in the final bill. Now begins what’s expected to be two weeks of debate and votes – all televised live on C-Span.

Friday, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah will speak at the National Press Club about international development issues.

Congressional hearings this week include:

Tuesday, June 15

  • Continuing House/Senate conference on Wall Street Reform legislation will consider Title 3: OTS/OCC merger; thrift charter; Title 5: Insurance; Title 4: Private Funds; & Title 9, subtitle C: credit rating agencies
  • Senate Energy Subcommittee hearing on a variety of proposed bills dealing with renewable energy, nuclear energy and other energy issues
  • Senate Health Committee hearing on health impacts of the BP oil blowout
  • House Energy Subcommittee hearing on America’s Energy Future: Safety, Security & Clean Energy

Wednesday, June 16

  • Continuing House/Senate conference on Wall Street Reform legislation
  • Senate Energy Committee business meeting to consider pending legislation.
  • House Energy Subcommittee hearing on legislation including H.R. 5156, the “Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing & Export Assistance Act”
  • House Science & Technology Subcommittee hearing on Real-Time Forecasting for Renewable Energy Development

Thursday, June 17

  • Continuing House/Senate conference on Wall Street Reform legislation
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on U.S. farm safety net programs in advance of the 2012 Farm Bill
  • Senate Energy Subcommittee hearing on the National Park Service
  • House Energy Subcommittee hearing on BP’s role in the Deepwater Horizon Explosion & Oil Spill

USDA’s Economic Research Service & National Agricultural Statistics Service reports:

  • Monday, June 14, Crop Progress, Feed Outlook, Wheat Outlook, Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook, Aquaculture Data
  • Tuesday, June 15, Weather-Crop Summary
  • Wednesday June 16, Broiler Hatchery, Turkey Hatchery
  • Thursday, June 17, Cherry Production, Meat Price Spreads
  • Friday, June 18, Dairy Products Prices, Catfish Processing, Cattle on Feed, Milk Production, Peanut Prices, Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook

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