What’s ahead for Washington this week: Jobs & economic recovery

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, September 6 – During this final week before the House and Senate return to tackle stalled legislation and dashed hopes for economic recovery, attention will focus on the struggling U.S. economy. President Obama kicked the week off with his Laborfest speech in Milwaukee Monday, promising a $50 billion job creation push “to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads . . . lay and maintain 4,000 miles of our railways . . . restore 150 miles of runways and advance a next generation air-traffic control system . . . build a national high-speed rail network that reduces congestion, travel times, and harmful emissions.” He called his plans “something I think folks across the political spectrum could agree on.”

On Wednesday, Obama will be in Cleveland to announce more plans, including new tax breaks, to get cash-rich business to stop hoarding and start hiring again. Then on Friday, he'll wrap up with an economy-focused White House press conference.

No surprise that with the November mid-term elections coming up fast, Obama both promises that his plan “will be fully paid for and will not add to the deficit over time” and “will not only create jobs now, but will make our economy run better over the long haul.” He says his plan “can and should attract bipartisan support.” But also no surprise in campaign season, Obama charges that “When it comes to just about everything we’ve done to strengthen the middle class and rebuild our economy, almost every Republican in Congress said no. Even where we usually agree, they say no. They think it’s better to score political points before an election than actually solve problems.”

So expect the week to include plenty of Republican rebuttals, something that House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) kicked off Monday by commenting that “As the American people, facing near double-digit unemployment, mark Labor Day by asking, where are the jobs, the White House has chosen to double-down on more of the same failed ‘stimulus’ spending. . . We don’t need more government ‘stimulus’ spending – we need to end Washington Democrats’ out-of-control spending spree, stop their tax hikes, and create jobs by eliminating the job-killing uncertainty that is hampering our small businesses.”

The next question will be whether the Fed's “Beige Book” being released Wednesday, with its report on economic indicators from crop prospects to car sales, will support the administration's claims that its stimulus efforts are working and creating millions of jobs – or Boehner's charges that nothing's working and a drastic course change is needed.

Creating jobs will also be the focus of this year's National Clean Energy Summit being hosted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in Las Vegas Tuesday. With no time or patience left in the Senate for passing stalled climate legislation before the elections, the Summit will feature discussions “about attracting much needed financing for new clean energy companies that are ready to put their technologies to work creating jobs today.” Note that measures stalled in the highly partisan Senate are the biodiesel tax breaks which expired last December, idling much of that industry, and the ethanol tax breaks due to expire this coming December.

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

  • Monday, September 6, Labor Day Holiday

  • Tuesday, September 7, Crop Progress

  • Wednesday September 8, Weather-Crop Summary, Broiler Hatchery

  • Thursday, September 9, Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data

  • Friday, September 10, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Livestock and Meat Trade Data, Season-Average Price Forecasts, U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update, Cotton Ginnings, Crop Production, Dairy Products Prices, Peanut Prices

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