Senate Poised to Confirm Barrett as Supreme Court Justice

Posted on 10/26/2020 4:07 AM

Covid aid package stuck in blame game until after Nov. 3 elections

 


Washington Focus


 

The House is scheduled to be in a district work period until Nov. 16.

 

Each side in the U.S. stimulus debate accuses the other of "moving the goalposts." That's all you need to know to predict what many had forecast weeks ago: This issue never had great odds of concluding before Nov. 3 elections, especially after election polls continue to signal a trifecta Democratic win of the White House, House and Senate.

     House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows accused each other of “moving the goalposts” on stimulus legislation in back-to-back Sunday interviews on CNN. If no coronavirus relief bill is passed before the election, Pelosi said House Democrats would keep pressing for an agreement in the lame-duck session after the election. She said they would not wait until January.

 

The Senate is poised to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The chamber advanced President Trump's nominee in a rare Sunday session, with a final vote expected Monday to be almost entirely along party lines. The Senate on Sunday cleared a major procedural hurdle on the nomination. Senate Republicans had the numbers to invoke cloture, 51, to 48, which takes only a simple majority and allows as long as 30 hours of debate ahead of a final vote on Barrett’s confirmation Monday night.

 

     Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), in a turnabout, said she would vote to confirm Judge Barrett. "While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her as an individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill and humility,” Murkowski said on Saturday. “I will vote no on the procedural votes ahead of us but yes to confirm Judge Barrett when the question before us is her qualification to be an associate justice.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is in a tough re-election bid, is the only Republican expected to vote against Barrett on Monday.

 

     If confirmed as expected, Barrett would be President Trump’s third justice on the Supreme Court, putting her in position for a first full day as a justice as early as Tuesday and as the court continues to hear election-related legal challenges ahead of Nov. 3. Her confirmation would mean a major change as the court's 5-4 conservative majority before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died would become a 6-3 supermajority, although some have noted the less conservative tilt of Chief Justice John Roberts in some cases.

 


Hearings and Events This Week


 

Silicon Valley CEOs to testify before Senate panel. Sundar Pichai of Google parent Alphabet, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter will face questions Wednesday via videoconference from the Commerce Committee about their policies for moderating content on their internet platforms.

 

Monday, Oct. 26


     • President Donald Trump makes campaign appearances in Pennsylvania.

     • Ag trade. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research webinar on "The World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Mechanism and the Future of World and Agricultural Trade."
     • Global economy. Peterson Institute for International Economics webinar on "Rebuilding the Global Economy: Role of the White House."
     • European Green Deal. International Energy Agency virtual discussion on "European Green Deal — what are the next steps?"
     • China trade. German Marshall Fund of the United States webinar on "Business as Usual? Shaping Relations with China," focusing on trade issues.
     • Big tech. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research webinar on "Big Tech and Antitrust: Assessing the House Judiciary Committee Staff Report."
     • Asian trade. George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs virtual interview with former Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, new challenges for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
     • US foreign policy and elections. Council on Foreign Relations virtual discussion with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for a "Election 2020 U.S. Foreign Policy Forum."

Tuesday, Oct. 27


     • U.S./China. New America webinar on "Teetering on the Edge of Uncontrolled Decoupling," focusing on U.S. and Chinese efforts to reduce interdependence.
     • U.S./Taiwan. George Washington University's (Center for Asian Studies webinar on "Taiwan's New Economic Prospects with the U.S. and Beyond."
     • India/China. Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies virtual discussion on "India and the China Crisis."
     • Food safety issues. International Association for Food Safety virtual annual meeting, with sessions featuring FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas and USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Dr. Mindy Brashears.
     • Renewable energy. American Council on Renewable Energy and BloombergNEF virtual discussion on "How Can Hydrogen Enable 100% Renewable Targets," part of the "State of the Industry" webinar series.
     • 2020 elections. Brookings Institution webinar on "Election 2020: Driving Forces and Possible Outcomes."
     • Covid-19. General Services Administration meeting by teleconference of the Sustainable Response to Covid-19 Task Group to analyze potential impacts on federal facility sustainability, including occupant health and wellness, related to the potential implementation of Covid-19 mitigation measures and operational practices.
     • Covid-19 vaccine. Heritage Foundation webinar on "The Fight to Get a Covid-19 Vaccine: The Inside Story of the Administration's Operation Warp Speed."
     • Electoral College. Brennan Center for Justice webinar on "Democracy and the Electoral College."

Wednesday, Oct. 28


     • Organics. National Organic Standards Board Fall 2020 meeting including discussion and votes on proposed recommendations to the USDA, to receive updates from the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) on issues pertaining to organic agriculture, and to receive comments from the organic community.
     • Small businesses. Washington Post Live webinar on "The Path Forward: Small Business," as part of the Path Forward series.
     • Elections and trade. Washington International Trade Association webinar with trade reporters on "Biden 1 or Trump 2?"
     • Megabanks. Peterson Institute for International Economics webinar on "Are Megabanks Still a Problem?"
     • Section 230. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on "Does Section 230's Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?"
     • U.S., Korea and Japan. George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs holds a virtual Korean Policy Forum on "US-ROK-Japan Trilateral Relations in the Post-Abe Era."
     • Election challenges. The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. holds a webinar on challenges and questions faced by the U.S. electoral process in 2020.
     • Brazil. The Woodrow Wilson Center's (WWC) Brazil Institute holds a webcast on "Lobbying and Corruption in Democratic Brazil."
     • Energy transition. Axios webinar on "America's Energy Transition," focusing on "how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the environment and energy industry."
     • Community banking. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation meeting by teleconference of the Advisory Committee on Community Banking to discuss current issues affecting community banking.
     • Trump second term. Washington Post Live virtual discussion with Brooke Leslie Rollins, acting director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, about Trump's plans for a second term.
     • Natural gas. United States Energy Association and the Energy Department's Office of Fossil Energy virtual discussion on a report titled "U.S. Oil and Natural Gas: Providing Energy Security and Supporting Our Quality of Life."

Thursday, Oct. 29


     • Organics. National Organic Standards Board Fall 2020 meeting including discussion and votes on proposed recommendations to the USDA, to receive updates from the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) on issues pertaining to organic agriculture, and to receive comments from the organic community.
     • Farm and food policy. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research webinar on "The Future of U.S. Farm and Food Policy in a Post-Covid-19 World."
     • Transportation issues. State Department teleconference of the Shipping Coordination Committee to prepare for the remote 102nd session of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee, Nov. 4 to 11, 2020.
     • Trade issues. Information Technology and Innovation Foundation virtual 2020 Global Trade and Innovation Policy Alliance Summit, including a session on The Future of Trade and Globalization.
     • Covid-19. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention teleconference of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee, including updates from CDC, CMS, and FDA; discussions on preparedness and response and the partnership between clinical laboratories and public health; laboratory data exchanges during Covid-19; and the clinical laboratory's role in identifying health inequities during the Covid-19 response.
     • 5G. Washington Post Live webinar on "5G," as part of the Transformers series.
     • Energy issues. Atlantic Council webinar on "U.S./Europe Energy Bridge: The Next Evolution of U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Energy Sector Assistance in Europe and Eurasia."
     • Energy storage. Resources for the Future (RFF) webinar on "The Future of Energy Storage."
     • Energy storage strategies. General Services Administration teleconference of the Energy Storage Task Group to explore the use of energy storage at federal facilities, and how it may be employed to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, including in conjunction with renewable energy and grid integration strategies.

Friday, Oct. 30


Organics. National Organic Standards Board Fall 2020 meeting to discuss and vote on proposed recommendations to the USDA, to receive updates from the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) on issues pertaining to organic agriculture, and to receive comments from the organic community.
     • China issues. George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs virtual conference on "China's Economic Development and U.S./China Economic Relations,” including remarks from World Bank Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart.

 


Economic Reports for the Week


 

The economic calendar includes updates on new home sales, durable goods and consumer sentiment, as well as what will be a major Q3 GDP report. A historic 33% Q/Q surge in Q3 GDP is expected to be reported to follow on the 31.4% drop in Q2. Despite the strong bounce in Q3, the Fed's official forecast for this year is for GDP to decline 3.7%, which would mark the biggest single-year drop since at least World War II.

 

Monday, Oct. 26


     • Census Bureau reports sales of new single-family homes for September. Consensus estimate is for a seasonally adjusted rate of one million homes sold, roughly even with the August figure. New-home sales are now at their highest level since 2006.
     • Chicago Fed National Activity Index

Tuesday, Oct. 27


     • Conference Board releases its Consumer Confidence Index for October. Economists forecast a 101.5 reading, just below the September data. Consumer confidence increased sharply in September, but remains below prepandemic levels.
     • Durable Goods Orders
     • S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI
     • FHFA House Price Index
     • Richmond Fed Manufacturing

Wednesday, Oct. 28


     • MBA Mortgage Applications
     • International Trade in Goods
     • Wholesale Inventories

Thursday, Oct. 29


     • Jobless Claims so far in October have fallen to their lowest levels since March, a sign the labor market is slowly healing. Figures for the week ending Oct. 24 are expected to remain historically high — but show another weekly decline, offering more evidence of progress.
     • Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports its advance estimate for third-quarter gross domestic product. Expectations are for a record expansion at an annualized 30% rate after a record contraction of 31.4% in the second quarter.
     • Pending Home Sales Index
     • Fed Balance Sheet
     • Money Supply
     • Bank of Japan announces its monetary policy. The central bank is widely expected to keep its short-term interest rate unchanged at negative 0.1%.
     • The European Central Bank’s governing council isn’t expected to announce significant changes to its policies, but may signal an inclination to provide more stimulus at its December meeting amid mounting signs that a new surge in coronavirus infections has stalled the eurozone’s economic recovery.

Friday, Oct. 30


     • BEA reports personal income and expenditures for September. Consensus estimates are for a 0.1% month-over-month increase for income and 1% gain in spending. This compares with a 2.7% decline and 1% rise, respectively, in August.
     • Employment Cost Index
     • Chicago PMI
     • Consumer Sentiment

 


Key USDA & international Ag & Energy Reports and Events


 

Focus is on demand for U.S. ag products, especially by China, and crop development/weather in Brazil and Argentina, and wheat crop prospects in Russia and Ukraine.

 

Monday, Oct. 26

 

          Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Crop Progress
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data
  • Monthly MARS bulletin on crop conditions in Europe
  • Malaysian Oct. 1-25 palm oil export data
  • Holiday: Hong Kong, New Zealand          

Tuesday, Oct. 27

 

          Ag reports and events:

  • Livestock & Meat Domestic Data
  • Peanut Stocks and Processing

          Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • Virtual Palm Oil Conference, day 1

Wednesday, Oct. 28

 

          Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Egg Products
  • Holiday: Indonesia

          Energy reports and events:

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories
  • Virtual Palm Oil Conference, day 2

Thursday, Oct. 29

 

          Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports
  • Vietnam’s General Statistics Office releases commodity trade data for October
  • International Grains Council monthly report
  • Holiday: Indonesia, Malaysia

          Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change

Friday, Oct. 30

 

          Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report
  • Peanut Prices
  • Agricultural Prices
  • FranceAgriMer weekly update on crop conditions
  • Holiday: Indonesia

          Energy reports and events:

  • Baker Hughes weekly U.S. oil/gas rig counts
  • EIA releases 914 production report
  • EIA releases Petroleum Supply Monthly

 

 

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