By Bernie Becker, Peter Schroeder, Vicki Needham and Erik Wasson - 05/23/11 11:12 PM EDT
TUESDAY’S BIG STORY:
Elizabeth Warren is scheduled to make a return trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, where the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is slated to testify before a House Oversight subcommittee.
Warren’s visit comes as Republicans try to craft their case that the CFPB is too powerful and needs to be put in check – hence the title of the TARP and Financial Services subcommittee’s Tuesday hearing: “Who’s Watching the Watchmen?”
As it stands, House Republicans are pushing legislation to curb the new consumer bureau while, across the Rotunda, their counterparts in the Senate have vowed to block any nominee to lead the CFPB until similar changes are made.
For her part, Warren does not appear bowed by any of the pressure. On Tuesday, she plans to push back against critiques of the bureau as “baseless claims” that are “flatly wrong,” according to prepared testimony released by the CFPB. Instead, she will argue that GOP proposals to make the agency over are attempts to undermine the agency before it actually goes live in July. Those proposals include scrapping the director’s chair, which many believe will eventually be Warren's, in favor of a bipartisan commission.
Warren previously fended off GOP criticism in March, when she sat before the House Financial Services Committee. There’s little reason to doubt this appearance will be much different.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR:
Return of Biden: After a week or so off, the debt discussions led by Vice President Joe Biden are set to move to a new venue on Tuesday – Capitol Hill.
Those involved in the talks – Biden, other administration officials and a bipartisan crop of lawmakers – have already found consensus on around $200 billion in cuts, with a little more than two months to go before Treasury says the debt ceiling will absolutely have to be raised.
Let’s go appropriating: The House Appropriations agriculture subcommittee is expected to gather for a markup on Tuesday, a day after it released legislation that would make significant cuts to a food assistance program and the Food and Drug Administration.
Republicans chalked the cuts up to tough choices, while the top Democrat on House Appropriations accused the GOP of “pulling the rug out from underneath folks who can least afford it.”
Also scheduled to go appropriating on Tuesday: The full House panel will discuss homeland security and military construction, while the HUD and Transportation subcommittee looks at community planning and development.
Moving back to Financial Services: That panel is also set to tackle another big chunk of Dodd-Frank in a markup tomorrow – as lawmakers haggle over legislation, already passed by House Agriculture, that would delay new rules on financial derivatives until the end of 2012. Republicans contend regulators are rushing to write the rules in an attempt to meet deadlines set by Dodd-Frank, and that they need more time to properly weigh the economic implications of said rules. Democrats argue the GOP is merely trying to slow the implementation of Dodd-Frank in the hopes that electoral gains will allow Republicans to roll back Wall Street reform in the next Congress.
And that’s not all – on the heels of the markup, the trade subcommittee will hold a hearing on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. (Keep in mind that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is also scheduled to address Congress tomorrow, giving lawmakers a sort of hearing halftime.)
On the other side of the Capitol, House Ways and Means is set to look for tips from Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom as it discusses international tax reform.
Overnight Energy plug: Our good friends at E2Wire will be previewing tomorrow’s scheduled House Oversight hearing on gas prices, with Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, as the featured guest.
“Gang of Dudes”: That's the take, at least, of a collection of women’s groups, who are holding a conference call on Tuesday to discuss the, shall we say, male-dominated nature of those Biden talks.
Administration daybook: Gary Locke, the Commerce secretary and nominee for ambassador to China, is scheduled to meet with chief executives about intellectual property rights and other prominent issues in the worldwide marketplace.
The conference circuit: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat and DNC chairwoman, makes a morning appearance before the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ spring meeting.
-- The Census Bureau is set to release new home sales data.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Senate: In the latest installment of partisan bickering over the 2012 budget, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) took to the chamber floor Monday to threaten both planned budget votes and the Senate’s scheduled recess for Memorial Day next week. Sessions’ move is the latest objection he’s lobbed at Senate Democrats, who have yet to produce a 2012 budget and last passed one more than two years ago, and came the same day the entire GOP conference called for more movement on a Senate budget.
Still, Democrats will be able to bring up, as planned, the House-passed budget this week, and also called said Sessions’ move proof that the Republicans were scared to vote for it – a statement dismissed by the GOP.
Put it in the ‘whoopsie’ file: Amazon was selling the digital version of Lady Gaga’s new album for 99 cents on Monday. But as The New York Times reports, the flood of Gaga followers was a little too much for the Amazon servers.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
On the Money’s Monday:
-- Senate Democrats back the president’s call for TAA reauthorization before trade deal votes.
-- Half the country’s governors support both the trade pacts and reupping TAA.
-- Ron Paul reiterates: Stop raising the debt ceiling.
-- Americans are skeptical that cuts to Medicare or Social Security are needed to eat into deficits.
-- Justice Department dives into the do-it-yourself tax field with new antitrust suit.
-- And DSK denies sexual assault allegations in email to IMF employees.
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