Washington Daybook: Setting the Agenda

Photograph by Barbara Walton/EPA

A Buddhist monk reads a newspaper with news and photos of the visit of President Barack Obama, the day after Obama's historic trip to the former pariah state, in the streets of Yangon, Myanmar, on Nov. 20, 2012.

With Congress out and President Barack Obama in Southeast Asia, cabinet officials and agency heads have Washington more or less to themselves today and are using the opportunity to lay out their visions for regulation in the years ahead.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addresses the Center for a New American Security upon his return from a weeklong visit to Australia, Thailand and Cambodia. He may follow on Obama’s comments today in Phnom Penh that the U.S. is a “Pacific nation” and discuss the Pentagon’s strategy to “rebalance” military resources to put greater emphasis on the Asia-Pacific.

Also today, Federal Communications Commision Chairman Julius Genachowski speaks on the future of U.S. broadband policy, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos discusses changing regulations for high-tech innovation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff outlines rules governing energy markets, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius makes an announcement on the Affordable Care Act and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reviews efforts to spur U.S. growth in a speech in New York.

Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida finally conceded to Democrat Patrick Murphy in his bid for re-election. Among 10 House incumbents with best-funded challengers as of Aug. 1, eight were defeated, including all three who had less cash on hand than their challengers as of Aug. 1 and also won their seats in 2010 with less than 52 percent of the vote: Joe Walsh of Illinois; Dan Lungren of California and Charles Bass of New Hampshire. Among seven other incumbents with best-funded opponents, just Reps. Jerry McNerney and Steven King survived. Losers were: Reps. West, Dold, Bilbray, Bartlett and Biggert.

Also today, Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin holds a closed meeting with Tim Pawlenty, president of Financial Services Roundtable, to discuss the state of the economy and financial reform. Commerce Undersecretary Francisco Sanchez discusses U.S.-Mexico trade policy at the Woodrow Wilson Center. And Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia touts his book “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts” at Georgetown University Law Center.

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