Federal City Digest

Federal City Digest

(By Katsumi Kasahara -- Associated Press)
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


· The big event of the day will be President Obama's 9 p.m. address to a joint session of Congress from the House Chamber of the Capitol.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will deliver the Republican response to the speech from his office in Baton Rouge. Jindal is Indian American, making for another bit of history as both parties are represented by members of ethnic minority groups. [Story, A5.]

· Earlier in the day, Obama will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, above, to discuss North Korea and the international financial crisis.

· The latter is a topic on which the House has a packed hearing schedule today, with the House Financial Services subcommittee on housing and community opportunity promising an afternoon forum on the question "Loan Modifications: Are Mortgage Servicers Assisting Borrowers With Unaffordable Mortgages?" while, in another hearing room, a different Financial Services subcommittee, on oversight and investigations, will undertake "A Review of the Troubled Asset Relief Program Oversight, Accountability and Transparency for U.S. Taxpayers."

That hearing will feature an increasingly familiar list of testimonial speakers. Among others: Neil M. Barofsky, special inspector general for TARP; acting U.S. Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro of the Government Accountability Office; and Elizabeth Warren, who chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel.

· With everything that's gone haywire in the economy since last summer, who among us recalls Obama's promises in the primary campaign involving the Great Lakes -- so important to states such as Indiana and Michigan? The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition does, and will invoke them as it holds a conference at the Madison Hotel to assess "the Obama administration's commitment to the Great Lakes." Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Nancy Sutley, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, are scheduled to speak.

· Kids today will be interested in a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on "The Ticketmaster/Live Nation Merger: What Does It Mean for Consumers and the Future of the Concert Business?" CEOs of Ticketmaster Entertainment and the concert promoter Live Nation, as well as 9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz, are scheduled to testify.

· A rare dose of uplift may be found at the House Transportation and Infrastructure aviation subcommittee's hearing on the splash landing of US Airways Flight 1549. The crew, including pilot and international hero Chesley B. Sullenberger III, will be on hand.

· Labor Secretary-designate Hilda L. Solis could become the first Obama Cabinet pick to have her nomination subjected to a debate-ending cloture vote; if Senate leaders cannot overcome GOP hesitation today, the Democratic congresswoman from California will need the backing of 60 senators to move her stalled nomination forward.

-- Garance Franke-Ruta federalcity@washpost.com

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