OVERNIGHT MONEY: Russia trade tops agenda

Levin and others see support building for his option, although mostly from his party colleagues, while bipartisan support is growing in the Senate. 

Either way, lawmakers tend to agree that PNTR needs to be granted even as Russia maintains ties to the Assad regime in Syria

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Levin called for Russia to give the United States some kind of sign that it doesn't support the violence against civilians and rebels in Syria and that Moscow would be willing to work with the international community to condemn the actions of President Bashar Assad. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, reportedly, reversed course during the Group of 20 meetings, where he met with President Obama and other top world leaders, saying Assad should go but that decision should be up to the Syrians.

Congress will have to act next month — before the August recess — to grant PNTR and take advantage of the changes in the U.S.-Russia trade relationship that will follow Moscow's accession to the World Trade Organization. 


WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR

Farm bill on hold in House: A planned markup of the farm bill in the House will not happen as planned next week. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said Wednesday he wants his committee members to focus on the fiscal 2013 Agriculture discretionary spending bill that comes to the floor next week, an aide said. The markup will now happen July 11.

"The Agriculture Committee has to be all hands on deck to work with the appropriators," Lucas said.

In the past, members have tried to put limits on farm subsidies authorized by the spending bill in the annual Agriculture Department spending bill. 

Committee staff says the postponement was Lucas's decision, and reports that House Majoroty Leader Eric CantorEric CantorChamber of Commerce overhauls lobbying operation Laura Ingraham under consideration for White House press secretary VA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat MORE (R-Va.) made the call are overblown.

House leaders did not list action on the farm bill in their memo outlining bills coming to the floor this summer. The farm bill could set up a contentious battle between GOP farm district representatives and fiscal conservatives, something leadership is hardly excited about.

Meanwhile, the Senate was dispensing with a long list of 73 amendments and plans to hold a final vote on Thursday. The Senate established new limits on farm subsidies for wealthy farmers on Wednesday, but rejected limits on rural broadband spending and the Market Access Program, which promotes U.S. products abroad.

Money market fight: The Senate Banking Committee will look into the stability of money market funds on Thursday. Financial regulators have been sounding alarms, calling for heightened oversight of that corner of Wall Street, which they say remains vulnerable. However, they've been met by fierce industry opposition that maintains the industry is plenty strong, and that heightened regulations could make it less effective. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro, who has led the charge, will be on hand to testify, as well as experts on both sides of the debate.

Making headway: House Rules will meet on Thursday to prepare the 2013 Agriculture and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development bills for floor action next week — the sixth and seventh spending bills to reach the floor.

The House has passed the Commerce, Justice and Science; Energy & Water; Homeland Security; Legislative Branch, and the Military and Veterans Affairs bills, all tailored to the House-passed budget from Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanNearly 600 VA dental patients may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis Republicans raise red flags about ObamaCare repeal strategy Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, rather than the August debt-ceiling deal.

On Wednesday, the full committee reported out the Financial Services bill, and has already reported out a State Department and Defense bill. The Interior, Environment bill is on its way to full committee, while the Labor, Health bill has yet to emerge even in draft form.

The Financial Services bill includes a major lobbying ban that would not allow former members of Congress or the administration to lobby on behalf of certain foreign governments, including China, for the first 10 years after they leave office.

House appropriators want to get all bills through committee by the August recess.

Stormy weather: The House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science will hold a hearing on Thursday on troubles at the National Weather Service. The NWS shifted around appropriated funds without congressional approval, leading to a dozen management changes.

An NWS request to Congress to reallocate money to other departments in order to avoid furloughs was rejected last month. Turns out, an internal investigation found, officials had been moving money around for years to programs and weather offices as needed. 

Top officials at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will testify.


BREAKING NEWS

No twisting in the wind: The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced a $267 billion extension of its effort to boost the economy, with Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterating his warning that Congress must act to prevent a "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts.

The Fed will extend, by six months, an effort to reduce borrowing rates known as “Operation Twist.” The extension will run through the end of the year in an attempt to offset a swoon in the U.S. economy, which is struggling amid a global slowdown largely attributable to the European debt crisis.


ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Initial Claims: The Department of Labor releases its weekly filings for jobless benefits, which have started to tick down again, although slowly. 

Mortgage Rates: Freddie Mac releases weekly data on fixed-rate mortgages, which have hit historic lows in recent weeks. 

Existing Home Sales: The National Association of Realtors releases May figures for the sales of existing homes.

Leading indicators: The Conference Board will release a batch of previously announced economic indicators for May: new orders, jobless claims, money supply, average workweek, building permits and stock prices.

FHFA Housing Price Index: The Federal Housing Finance Agency will release its measure of prices for April on single-family homes.


WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Pelosi cheers GOP for retreating on FCC's political ad rule

— House GOP reverses position, won’t block FCC political ad rule

— House appropriators advance bill slashing EPA funding

— House panel votes to limit abortion under Obama's healthcare law

— CEOs lower growth expectations as fiscal cliff approaches


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