By Peter Schroeder - 03/19/12 10:42 AM EDT
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the European debt crisis will be a hot topic, just days after the International Monetary Fund signed off on its $37 billion contribution to a broad bailout package for Greece. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will visit the House Financial Services Committee to discuss the state of international finance, and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is devoting a Wednesday morning hearing to Europe’s debt woes.
Lawmakers will begin the push to fill several key empty seats at financial regulators Tuesday, as the Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on several nominations. Two White House nominees to join the Federal Reserve, one for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the first-ever director of the Office of Financial Research, created by the Dodd-Frank reform law, will be considered. In addition, senators will weigh the nominee to serve as watchdog for the government’s bailout programs.
That panel will follow that up Thursday by hearing from some existing regulators about the implementation of Dodd-Frank. In particular, lawmakers will hear from regulators on how the law is being carried out on an international scale.
On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will explore Russia’s human rights record, which comes at a time when the Obama administration is pushing to open trade with Russia as it is set to join the World Trade Organization this summer. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) has signaled resistance to easing trade relations with Russia, citing human rights as a concern.
Meanwhile, appropriators in the House and Senate will continue their work this week, hearing from top officials from the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce and Education and the Office of Management and Budget. They also will discuss spending with the heads of the Federal Communications Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
There is little action from the Federal Reserve this week, except for a novel move by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. The central bank leader will spend Tuesday and Thursday lecturing students at George Washington University about the Fed’s role in the financial crisis. A second pair of lectures will be held the following week.