WEDNESDAY'S BIG STORY:
Budget conference, Part 2: Round Two of the House-Senate budget conference gears up on Wednesday.
The budget conference will host special guest, Doug Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office, who would be charged with producing any score on a bill to determine how much it costs or saves.
The budget conference takes place exactly a month before the Dec. 13 plan is due, with two more deadlines set for January and February on the budget and debt limit.
Government funding runs out Jan. 15 and would require another stopgap measure without a deal to provide money beyond that point.
But House and Senate leaders on the Appropriations Committee have asked the group to, at least, produce a top-line budget number by Thanksgiving to give them more time to crank out a massive omnibus spending measure.
Through the first meeting, lawmakers got hung up on the issue of tax revenue, and whether it should be increased to replace spending cuts under sequestration.
There is a push from lawmakers and groups off Capitol Hill to replace a portion of the sequester cuts as part of any deal.
Last week, Jim McNerney, chairman of the Business Roundtable and head of Boeing, sent President Obama and House-Senate budget conferees letters pressing them to reach a deal that wraps up the fiscal 2014 budget and replaces sequester cuts.
"The most pressing task before the budget conference is to reach agreement on a budget for the current fiscal year and provide for the replacement of the cuts imposed by the sequester," McNerney wrote.
Even with the public meetings, much of the heavy lifting is expected to be done behind the scenes out of the offices of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
On Tuesday, liberal Democrats made their point clear for budget conferees to end the sequester.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the conferees need to come up with a way to replace those damaging automatic spending cuts.
"It’s not like the motions of the planets or something,” Harkin said. “This is something we did to ourselves and we can undo it."
WHAT ELSE WE'RE WATCHING
Economy check: The Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday will chat about the condition of the nation's economy following last month's 16-day government shutdown with Jason Furman, who heads the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.
Asia continued: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew continues his trip through the Asia-Pacific with stops on Wednesday in Singapore and Malaysia with government and business leaders. Both nations are part of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, which U.S. and other leaders say they want to complete this year.
While Lew is overseas, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will deliver remarks in Washington.
Financial focus: On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a few subcommittee hearings. Early in the day, a panel will tackle the future of the nation’s terrorism insurance program and the role of the private market.
Later, a subcommittee will talk monetary policy and the policies of other central banks around the world.
Manufacturing hub: Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will chat on Wednesday with the Senate Commerce Committee about the role of manufacturing hubs as an avenue to innovation.
The hubs are designed to bring together companies, universities and community colleges, along with federal agencies, to jointly invest in the exploration of new technologies that can grow the economy.
Defense spending: The Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee will talk with several experts about the effects of sequestration on jobs and the defense industry.
MBA Mortgage Index: The Mortgage Bankers Association releases its weekly report on mortgage application volume.
Treasury Budget: The Treasury Department releases its October budget data, which is used mostly by the market for year-over-year changes in receipts and outlays.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— House Republicans opposing fast-track authority
— Democratic pollster: Voters OK with tax increases
— CFPB chief questioned on data collection
— Consumer bureau: Prepaid card restrictions coming
— Obama nominates new watchdog
— Report: IRS failed to use law that assesses penalties on bad tax returns
— Warren: New Wall Street overhaul needed
— Capitol Counsel picks up Dem lobbyist
— Sen. Carper applauds Postal Service deal with Amazon
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