By Bernie Becker, Peter Schroeder and Erik Wasson - 07/30/13 10:33 PM EDT
Hoyer suggested that he expects the coming fiscal battles, healthcare issues and the immigration debate to all be part of the meetings, as lawmakers prepare for more than a month away from the Capitol.
House floor: The House is expected to start consideration of a slew of IRS-related measures on Wednesday, as GOP lawmakers try to ensure that the agency's targeting of groups seeking tax-exempt status remains fresh in the voters' minds. Among the bills on the docket for Wednesday and Thursday: a measure to let the government place workers under investigation on unpaid leave, another to give the IRS more latitude to fire workers accused of political bias and legislation to allow taxpayers to tape conversations with enforcement officials.
Fed intrigue: And no, not of the Larry Summers-Janet Yellen variety.
The Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, has emphasized that the central bank will continue to react to economic changes in any slowdown, and that the Fed's plan to halt the bond purchases by the middle of next year will be contingent on the economy proceeding as expected. But plenty of traders will be taking a close look at the latest statement for any indications that the Fed is wavering on that stance, or even thinking of getting more aggressive.
Tomorrow's statement from the Federal Open Market Committee will be even more vital than usual, because Bernanke is not scheduled to hold a press conference to further flesh out the central bank's thinking afterward.
Senate's turn: The Senate Banking Committee will take its first big step on housing finance reform tomorrow, when the panel meets to consider legislation reforming the Federal Housing Administration. While their House counterparts have steamed ahead with a comprehensive overhaul bill that has already cleared committee, senators are taking a more deliberative, piecemeal approach. Both Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and the panel's ranking member, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), have given the FHA bill their blessing, so don't expect too many fireworks at tomorrow's markup. But when the bill advances as expected, that sets the stage for the committee to begin looking at broader reform measures down the way.
Approps season, cont'd: The full House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday will mark up – and likely approve – its plan to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 34 percent in 2014.
The proposed $2.8 billion cut is twice as deep as the 17 percent reduction proposed last year by the House GOP, and reflects a decision to cut domestic programs below sequestration levels in the coming year while adding money for the military.
In the process, House Republicans will use the $24.3 billion Interior and Environment spending bill to block the heart of President Obama's push for climate change action – executive regulations on existing power plants.
Tax reform tiff: President Obama's "grand bargain for the middle class" – the swapping of corporate tax reform for increased infrastructure and job spending – has created something of a debate on who supported what sort of tax reform and when.
Republicans stressed throughout the day that they had long preferred to rewrite the corporate and individual tax systems simultaneously, because so many small businesses pay as individuals. But Democrats circulated quotes from a slew of top Republicans – from Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) – that suggested they could get behind corporate reform.
On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the top Republican on the tax-writing Finance Committee, sent around statements from President Obama's budget, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner backing revenue-neutral corporate reform.
OK, about Summers and Yellen: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he would have a "lot of questions" for Summers if Obama decides to choose the former Treasury secretary to replace Bernanke, Bloomberg reports. Durbin was one of group of Democratic senators – more than a third of the caucus – who urged Obama to nominate Yellen, currently the vice chairwoman at the Fed.
MBA Mortgage Index: The Mortgage Bankers Association releases its weekly report on mortgage application volume.
ADP National Employment Report: Automatic Data Processing (ADP) will release its July report for private-sector job growth.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Corker: GOP shutdown threat 'a silly effort'
— Home prices post strongest gains since 2006
— Consumer confidence slips in July
— White House still looking to get fast-track trade authority through Congress by year's end
— GOP senator: Senate is 'headed for a big multi-train pile up' in September
— Feds poised to act on CEO pay
— Senate defense panel approves $594B Pentagon appropriations bill
— McCain worries as clock on deficit deal ticks toward August recess
— Hoyer could consider government funding bill that keeps sequester
— House GOP steps up pressure on IRS
— Reid: Watt nomination to wait until after August recess
— Financial regulators pressed on banks' commodities
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