This week: Commerce readies first-quarter GDP report

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On the Senate floor, lawmakers will move forward with legislation that would allow states to tax online purchases from companies located outside their borders. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced last week he planned to bring the bill straight to the floor, bypassing the Senate Finance Committee and setting the stage for a vote early next week.

Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. 

Cordray will be on hand to offer the bureau’s semi-annual report to Congress, as Republican senators continue to block his efforts to be reconfirmed to the position, a result of their demand for structural changes to his agency.

That same day, the Senate Budget Committee will discuss what President Obama’s 2014 budget request could mean for veterans, hearing testimony from Eric Shinseki, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Senate Finance Committee has a pair of hearings lined up for this week. 

On Tuesday, lawmakers will discuss the state of child welfare. On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee will talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the first hearing on the trade deal since the United States and Japan announced an agreement to allow Tokyo to join the talks.

There is fierce opposition from some quarters — House and Senate Democrats and the auto industry — to Japan’s addition to the 11-nation pact, which negotiators are aiming to complete later this year.

The House Financial Services Committee will continue its exploration of housing finance reform Wednesday with a committee hearing exploring how to entice private capital back into the housing market. Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back the overwhelming majority of the nation’s new mortgages, and as policymakers look to wind down the enterprises, they are looking for private parties to step up and fill that void.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee will explore the Treasury Department’s Small Business Lending Fund. Earlier this month, the government’s bailout watchdog issued a report that was harshly critical of how the fund was handled, saying banks failed to use it sufficiently to actually lend to small businesses.

And appropriators have a full slate of hearings as well, with several hearings lined up for both the Senate and House committees. The heads of the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services will testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee. In the House, appropriators will hear from Health and Human Services, Treasury and the Food and Drug Administration at subcommittee hearings.

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