Crunch time on Capitol hill this week. Greg Kaufmann provides the low-down:
Recovery and TARP -- those are the cable news networks go-to issues this week….Dems want the recovery bill on the President's desk on Friday before a 10-day recess. But they have a tough road ahead after the Senate approves its version on Tuesday. Then come negotiations with the House -- and with the Senate providing $40 billion less in aid to cash-strapped states, $20 billion less in school infrastructure spending, and $100 billion more in tax cuts -- a fight looms. The Washington Post reports that President Obama "is interested in restoring support" for the education and state aid items. He's got a prime-time 8 PM news conference tonight -- maybe he'll reveal the non-flatearther Republicans that make him think he can restore those vital investments and still get 60 votes.
Timothy "Taxes" Geithner will explain the new TARP plan for the next $350B on Tuesday. Supposedly $50 to $100 billion will go towards helping homeowners, but according to the Post Administration sources say that part of the plan is "highly fluid" -- which is highly disconcerting. Geithner is also expected to ask for MORE money to get the banks lending more, but on Meet the Press Congressman Barney Frank said, "If they haven't been able to get the banks to lend more, restrict excessive compensation and help deal with foreclosure in a reasonable way, they're not going to get [more money]."
Speaking of Frank, his Financial Services Committee is holding a must-see hearing on Wednesday on how the first round of TARP funds were used. He's bringing in the CEOs of Goldman, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Mellon, and State Street and it should be a hoot to watch. Frank told Meet the Press: "These are eight very highly paid people…. What is it that you do, because you get a bonus, that you wouldn't otherwise do? I want to know, like, if they didn't get a bonus, would they knock off early on Wednesday?" Fed Chairman Bernanke will also testify on Tuesday "on the Fed's $1.2 trillion loans to banks, investment banks, and foreign central banks since September," according to CongressDaily.
Other news: Panetta should get confirmed this week… there will be a big push to do the same for Hilda Solis… Rep. John Dingell will be honored as the longest-serving House member in history…. there are reports Democrats might introduce card check legislation in the House -- but I wouldn't count on it -- not with recovery bill and Solis votes pending ….
Other hearings: the guy you don't want to be -- Peanut Corp. of America President Stewart Parnell testifying on the salmonella outbreak linked to his plant…. The House Armed Services Committee takes up Strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan…. and a Budget Committee hearing on Fighting Hunger and Investing in Children on Thursday.