What’s ahead for Washington this week: campaigning, jobs, & GDP

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, August 22 – With just 72 days left before the November mid-term elections and Congress out of town for its August recess, the focus is out of town. That's where Sec. Vilsack is too – in Poteet, TX Monday talking about the child nutrition bill, one of the legislative priorities when Congress returns Sept. 14.

On Friday, Vilsack will be joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and other dignitaries for the joint USDA/Justice Department Livestock Competition Workshop in Fort Collins, CO to hear from ranchers and other stakeholders about competition and regulation affecting livestock marketing.

Also on the road, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will be in Las Vegas to boost Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's re-election prospects, explain how much stimulus funding has helped the federal school meals programs, and visit the Nevada State Fair in Reno.

Another focus of attention will be the Fed's annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium Thursday through Saturday all about “Macroeconomic Challenges: The Decade Ahead.” Fed Chair Ben Bernanke will address the international group of bank regulators Friday with a speech on “The Economic Outlook and the Federal Reserve's Policy Response.” This response may need to become far more aggressive if the revised U.S. second quarter GDP is revised from the preliminary 2.4% annualized rate down to perhaps as low as an anemic, non-job-creating 1.3% rate in Friday's release.

Meanwhile, Congress is taking advantage of being out of town to hold several field hearings this week:

Monday, August 23

  • House Financial Services subcommittee field hearing on Too Big Has Failed: Learning from Midwest Banks and Credit Unions, Overland Park, KS

Tuesday, August 24

  • Senate Budget Committee field hearing on Transportation Infrastructure’s Role in Economic Growth, Bowman, ND

  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions field hearing on Innovative Approaches to School Time, Albuquerque, NM

  • House Financial Services subcommittee field hearing on Empowering Consumers: Can Financial Literacy Education Prevent Another Financial Crisis? Lawrence, KS

Thursday, August 26

  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions field hearing on Investing in American Workers: The Benefits of Expanding Employee Ownership, Montpelier, VT

  • Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs subcommittee field hearing on Five years later: Lessons learned, progress made, and work remaining from Hurricane Katrina, Chalmette, LA

Friday, August 27

  • Senate Budget Committee field hearing on Devils Lake Basin Flooding Disaster, Lakota, ND

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

  • Monday, August 23, Feed Grains Database, Wheat Data, Catfish Feed Deliveries, Chickens and Eggs, Crop Progress

  • Tuesday, August 24, Weather-Crop Summary

  • Wednesday August 25, Monthly Milk Cost of Production, Poultry Slaughter, Broiler Hatchery

  • Thursday, August 26, Vegetables and Melons Outlook

  • Friday, August 27, Dairy Products Prices, Rice Stocks, Peanut Prices

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