This week: Shutdown battle intensifies

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Many Fed-watchers anticipate the central bank will roll out plans Wednesday to begin slowing its efforts to stimulate the economy. The policy statement from the Fed will have a major impact on financial markets in the weeks ahead.

The House is prepared to vote this week on a food stamp bill that would cut $40 billion from the program over 10 years. 

Dealing with the food stamp legislation could help pave the way for a conference committee on a five-year farm bill. The current 2008 farm bill is set to expire on Sept. 30.

If the food stamp bill were to fail, it is unclear whether House leaders would appoint conferees to a House-Senate committee to resolve differences on the farm bill. The Senate integrated bill only cuts $4 billion from food stamps. 

The White House, after being occupied with Syria, is looking to shift back to the economy this week. 

President Obama will meet with the Business Roundtable, an organization that represents the heads of some of the world’s largest companies, on Wednesday morning. 

On Monday, Vice President Biden heads south to Georgia and South Carolina. He will visit the ports in Savannah and Charleston, where he will tackle economic issues, including infrastructure investment, exports, competitiveness and job creation. 

Later in the week, Biden will travel to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto and participate in the launch of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue.

On Wednesday, the Joint Economic Committee will explore the other major fiscal issue looming before Congress: the debt limit. The bicameral panel will discuss the economic dangers of failing to boost the borrowing limit with economists and other experts.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on Thursday will examine the budget woes of the U.S. Postal Service. 

The Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday will hold a hearing on how to improve accountability and financial transparency for the federal government. That same day, a Ways and Means subcommittee will continue to probe the Internal Revenue Service, discussing that agency’s exempt organizations unit in the wake of allegations the tax agency improperly targeted Tea Party groups.

Also Wednesday, a Financial Services subcommittee will look at efforts by the Securities and Exchange Commission to boost oversight of the money market fund industry.

The full House Financial Services Committee on Thursday will discuss the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002. That law, set to sunset at the end of 2013 without an extension, provides a federal backstop for the insurance industry when it comes to acts of terrorism. 

On Thursday, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will talk to the business community about the global economy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.