Washington Daybook: Sequestration Countdown

Photograph by Derick E. Hingle/Bloomberg

The USS Arlington, front, and USS San Diego, rear, both U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock ships, sit at the dock at Ingalls Shipbuilding yard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

President Barack Obama will tell workers at a Huntington Ingalls shipbuilding facility in Newport News, Virginia, today that their jobs may depend on his ability to work out a compromise with Republicans in Congress over sequestration. Huntington CEO Michael Petters speaks on Bloomberg TV ahead of Obama’s speech.

Look for the introduction of competing Senate Democratic and Republican bills
that would replace the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that start Friday.
Democrats want to replace the cuts with a combination of tax increases on
the wealthy and cuts in farm subsidies and defense spending. Republicans haven’t settled on their plan. A House Appropriations panel hears from Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno and leaders of Navy, Marine Corps and National Guard on the impact of the cuts.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke gives his semi-annual testimony on central bank monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee. His efforts to rescue the economy could result in more than a half trillion dollars of paper losses on the Fed’s books if interest rates rise abruptly, Bloomberg News reported. Speaking of the economy  the Senate Finance Committee hears from Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf on the economic outlook for the next decade.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Martin Gruenberg reports on bank and thrift earnings for the fourth quarter and updates his list of problem lenders at heightened risk of failure.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Richard Cordray and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry speak on enforcing consumer protection laws at a National Association of Attorneys General conference.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the International Organization of Securities Commissioners hold a public meeting on ways to overhaul scandal-plagued benchmarks such as the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler has questioned the viability of Libor after three banks paid more than $2.5 billion in fines to settle rate rigging charges.

On Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner delivers remarks at Credit Union National Association Conference. House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also speak.

Senate Democrats scheduled a cloture vote on Chuck Hagel as defense secretary today after some Republicans said they’ll drop opposition, while the Senate Finance Committee meets to consider Jack Lew’s nomination to be Treasury secretary.

And the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether states are violating the Constitution by collecting DNA samples from people when they are arrested in effort to link them to unsolved crimes.

What do you think about this article? Comment below!