TenCount -> Lunch with Mitch – Hurricane Relief $36.5 billion?

TenCount -> Lunch with Mitch – Hurricane Relief $36.5 billion?

A highly selective view of events in the week ahead with important financial, legislative and political implications, put together by your friends at Sphere Consulting.

  • Good Monday morning! The Senate is back in town this week, while the House is on a break. President Trump on Monday meets with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to discuss the legislative agenda, which once again seems to include more wrestling with health care after Trump signed an executive order eliminating subsidies for those who purchase health insurance on the individual market. Democrats have threatened to use a December 8 appropriations deadline as leverage to restore the subsidies or incur a government shutdown. Good times!
  • President Trump, who also meets Tuesday with the Prime Minister of Greece, has been steadily increasing the pressure on Congress to come up with a significant legislative victory by year’s end, plopping into Congress’s lap a bevy of problems that he instructed legislators to fix. In addition to the insurance subsidies for Obamacare, those include the nuclear agreement with Iran and DACA, the Obama-era protection for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
  • Even if it still can’t move on Obamacare, the Senate will have something to do this week, as the House left it with a $36.5 billion package of aid to areas struck by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and western states ravaged by wildfires. The package includes appropriations for FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program as well as a $4.9 billion loan – yes, a loan – for already financially strapped Puerto Rico.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions returns to Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning to testify for the first time since his confirmation, at an oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Democrats have been pushing for Sessions to appear so they can ask him about Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential election and the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, among other topics. Nine Democrats wrote to Sessions last week urging him not to invoke executive privilege but to testify “fully and truthfully.”
  • Not until December is the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee likely to take any further action on interest rates, but Fed watchers never tire of parsing the pronouncements of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Last week, Yellen said“the ongoing strength of the economy will warrant gradual increases” in short-term rates that will continue “over the next few years.” On Friday, Yellen speaks again, giving the Herbert Stein Memorial Lecture at the annual members’ dinner of the National Economists Club.
  • Meanwhile, many Fed watchers are expecting the White House to announce its decision on the next Fed chair this week, to give lawmakers enough time to hold confirmation hearings before Yellen’s term expires at the beginning of February. Politico says Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor, and Jay Powell, a current governor, are the favorites, but that John Taylor, a former Bush I Treasury official and now an economics professor at Stanford, remains a threat, with Yellen herself a longshot.
  • What does Kim Jong Un want? That is something everyone from President Trump on down is wondering as North Korea continues its pursuit of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile. On Thursday, the Heritage Foundation hosts a discussion on “The North Korean Nuclear Challenge and International Response”while on Friday the Women’s Foreign Policy Group mulls “North Korea: The Escalating Crisis and the Path Forward.”
  • Health Care is not just about Obamacare, of course, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, affectionately known as HELP, takes a look at some of those other aspects this week. On Wednesday drug makers, distributors and pharmacists will point fingers in discussing “The Cost of Prescription Drugs: How the Drug Delivery System Affects What Patients Pay,” while on Thursdaythe committee turns to “Examining How Healthy Choices Can Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Cost.” Also Wednesday, the US Chamber hosts its 6th annual summit, “A Path Forward on Health Reform: Advancing Priorities and Innovative Solutions Amid Uncertainty.”
  • Earlier this month, the Senate Banking Committee grilled the chief of Equifax, the credit bureau whose electronic infiltration resulted in the spilling of millions of consumers’ credit data. On Tuesday, the committee returns to the subject, this time to hear from consumer groups and watchdogs with “Consumer Data Security and the Credit Bureaus.”
  • Of course it’s not a popular sentiment in these days of “Drain the Swamp,” but the Center for American Progress wants to know if we can’t get a little love for the government workers who ensure the air we breathe is clean, that our children’s toys are safe and that first responders are on the job. On Wednesday, the Center hosts a panel discussion on “Essential Services, Essential People: The Value of a Professional Government Workforce.” 

    Founded in 2006, Sphere Consulting is an international public affairs firm providing clients with creative, effective, and timely solutions.  Our work spans the globe and all industry sectors with a focus on the implementation of strategic campaigns to deliver your media and government relations needs.

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