This week: 2012's budget fight continues

On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing devoted to the tough choices state and local governments face as they work to get their budgets in order. Some analysts have predicted the typically sleepy municipal bond market could see a number of defaults as cities and states deal with shrinking revenues and growing debt.

On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee will welcome top regulators charged with implementing the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to discuss how they’re coming along with new regulations on the derivatives marketplace.

Top officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Reserve, and Treasury Department are slated to testify.

The House Financial Services Committee will host a pair of its own hearings Thursday on Dodd-Frank, starting the day by exploring the role of the new Financial Stability Oversight Council. In the afternoon, another subcommittee will discuss the implications of a new requirement that financial institutions retain a portion of the risk they create on their books.

A number of tax hearings are also slated for this week. On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will take a figurative trip around the globe to discuss the advantages of how other nations handle their tax administration. The panel will follow that up with a hearing Wednesday on how the tax code can be used to rein in the federal deficit.

On the House side, the Ways and Means Committee will hold its own hearing Wednesday exploring how a complicated tax code is imposing burdens on individuals with confusing and overlapping provisions.

The House Small Business Committee will hit a similar note that same day, holding its own hearing on how tax complexity may hinder small businesses.

Also on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will offer its latest take on the nation’s economy when it releases its “beige book.” That document, which compiles what Fed governors nationwide are seeing and hearing from business contacts, paints an up-to-date picture of the economic climate in the United States.

Capitol Hill also will play host to top officials from the other two branches of government.

On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will appear before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss his department’s fiscal 2012 budget request. And in the House that day, another Appropriations subcommittee will host Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer to discuss the high court’s budget request.