By Bernie Becker, Peter Schroeder, Erik Wasson and Vicki Needham - 05/12/11 10:33 PM EDT
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR:
Working for the weekend: The House Financial Services Committee will not be easing into its Saturday tomorrow, as panel Republicans are planning to roll out Round 2 of their efforts to reform troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The committee already cleared a package of eight bills in April, and seven more are expected to be unveiled on Friday.
The committee also saw their Thursday markup of five bills — four of which would delay or otherwise alter the Dodd-Frank financial reform law — run long, and final votes on the bills are now scheduled for Friday morning. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and derivatives will be among the issues dealt with in the measures.
Getting in on the action: A group of House conservatives — including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) of the Republican Study Committee and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a key appropriator — are set to discuss legislation on Friday that would cap spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product and call for across-the-board cuts if that threshold is not met. (Current spending is more like 25 percent of gross domestic product.)
Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tom Graves (R-Ga.) are scheduled to join Jordan and Kingston. Meanwhile, a Senate bill — pushed by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) — looks to bring spending down to 20.6 percent of GDP.
— The Consumer Price Index, the best measure of the inflation rate, is due out Friday (and is expected to reflect rising energy and food prices.)
— Also due out: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment.
Talking trade: Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, prodded lawmakers to pass a trade pact with Colombia without linking it to issues such as the lapsed Trade Adjustment Assistance program or Russia’s trade status.
In a floor speech, the Utah Republican said Colombia was taking positive steps in areas like violence against union members, a major reason for Democratic skepticism of the deal so far. Top Democrats on trade — including Reps. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), the House Ways and Means ranking member, and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) — have pushed for movement on the TAA program, which expired in February.
About that Boeing thing…: Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) are still not happy. The lawmaking trio introduced a bill aimed at protecting right-to-work states by, among other things, guaranteeing a company can decide where they want to set up shop in the U.S.
Don’t follow Ryan’s lead: That’s the message, at least, from a key union official. Colleen Kelley of the National Treasury Employees Union pressed Senate Budget officials not to cut the federal workforce or impose a pay freeze, both of which are proposals in the House GOP budget.
The president’s budget also freezes federal pay, albeit for two years instead of the Ryan budget’s five.
Tax man cometh: The IRS informed five big-time political donors Thursday — maybe or maybe not the Kochs or George Soros — that their contributions may be taxable, The New York Times reports.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
Joe Biden: Entitlements, taxes still on the deficit-reduction table.
Mark Zandi: The economy can handle $4 trillion in deficit reduction.
Conservative Republicans want an inventory of Timothy Geithner’s debt-ceiling toolbox.
Lawmakers look to bring more clarity to digital tax laws.
Corporate CFOs say all tax expenditures are on the chopping block if rates can go low enough…
...and they want a territorial system.
Senate Banking scores a hat trick: Peter Diamond’s nomination moves forward again.
Mike Quigley offers his own $2 trillion deficit-reduction plan.
D.C. mayor wants some budgetary freedom.
Business inventories went up for the 15th consecutive month.
Fixed mortgage rates hit a yearly low.
And initial unemployment claims drop.
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