Lawmakers Return as a Big Issue Surfaces: U.S. Killing of Iranian General

Posted on 01/05/2020 12:44 PM

Senate focus on USMCA, Trump impeachment

The roaring '20s are off to a roaring start, with lawmakers returning to leftover issues, primarily in the Senate, but with both chambers likely focusing on a new major topic: A U.S. drone strike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.


Lawmakers are back from holiday recess facing heightened U.S. tensions with Iran and pressure to resolve uncertainty over how Trump’s impeachment trial will proceed.

Some observers signal House Democrats may not be over with its articles of impeachment against the president.

The House is set to meet Tuesday; votes expected early evening.

House agenda: The House is taking steps to consider a bill that would require EPA to regulate chemicals contaminating water supplies.

WRDA. On Thursday, House panel on Water Resources and Environment will hold a hearing to discuss proposals for water resources development legislation (WRDA) in 2020.

The Senate meets Monday at 2 p.m. CT. The Senate will swear in Kelly Loeffler as Georgia’s junior senator and vote on limiting debate on the nomination of Jovita Carranza to lead the Small Business Administration.

Senate Finance panel could vote as early as Tuesday to send the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to the floor, where it is expected to be approved at a date so far unclear.

On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing, “The Nonpoint Source Management Program Under the Clean Water Act: Perspectives from States.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 State of American Business will be released Thursday.

A U.S. drone strike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force, in a convoy near Baghdad International Airport. The Department of Defense claimed that Soleimani was planning attacks on U.S. forces and diplomats in Iraq. Also killed: top Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes. Link to a special Sunday edition of Policy Updates for details.

Senate briefing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday that he was working to arrange a briefing this week for senators on the Iraq airstrikes.

Democratic lawmakers quickly reacted. Democrats will attempt to curb President Trump’s war powers after a U.S. drone strike killed a senior Iranian military leader in what lawmakers are calling a major escalation that could lead to war, according to The Hill (link). It reports that Senate Democrats are mobilizing behind a resolution that would force Trump to withdraw American troops from hostilities against Iran unless Congress declares war or passes a resolution authorizing military force.

American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests,” said Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democratic House speaker, on Friday. “But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions.”

Joe Biden, the former vice-president who leads the Democratic race to challenge Trump in the November election, said Trump had “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox... I hope the administration has thought through the second- and third-order consequences of the path they have chosen,” Biden said. “But I fear this administration has not demonstrated at any turn the discipline or long-term vision necessary — and the stakes could not be higher.”

Attack to shape the 2020 presidential race. The strike introduces an unexpected national-security question into the bid to unseat Trump, but an issue that is hard for Democratic hopefuls to navigate.

A Chinese trade delegation is planning to travel to Washington on Jan. 13 for the signing of the U.S./China Phase 1 trade deal, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Sunday citing a source briefed on the matter. The Chinese delegation will return on Jan. 16, SCMP said. The trade delegation, led by Vice Premier Liu He, had originally planned to set off earlier in the month but had to change plans after President Donald Trump sent a tweet about the topic.

A signing ceremony, according to President Trump, will take place on Jan. 15 at the White House. Trump says he will begin Phase 2 talks later in Beijing.

Economic reports and Federal Reserve appearances for the week include:

— PMI Services Index. A preliminary reading showed the services sector rose to 52.2 in December from a final reading of 51.6 in November.

— International Trade will likely show that the country's trade deficit narrowed to $43.9 billion in November, from $47.2 billion in October.
— Factory Orders are expected to have decreased 0.8% in November from a rise of 0.3% the month before.
— ISM Non-Mfg Index is expected to come in at 54.5 for December.

— Fed Governor Lael Brainard speaks on modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act at the Urban Institute.
— MBA Mortgage Applications
— ADP Employment Report is expected to show U.S. companies' payrolls likely rose by 156,000 in December.
— Consumer Credit

— Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in N.Y.
— Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair Richard Clarida speaks at the "C. Peter McColough Series on International Economics: A Conversation with Richard Clarida.”
— Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams participates in a panel at the Workshop on The Future of Inflation Targeting.
— Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans participates in an economic forecast panel hosted by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard makes a presentation to the Wisconsin Bankers Association Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon.
— Jobless Claims
— Fed Balance Sheet
— Money Supply

— Employment: According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 160,000 jobs in December, with the unemployment rate remaining unchanged at 3.5%.
— Wholesale Trade

USDA on Friday releases several important reports. Major USDA & international ag and energy-related reports and events:

Monday, Jan. 6

Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report (delayed from Friday)
  • Export Inspections
  • Dairy Products
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data

Tuesday, Jan. 7

Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • Goldman Sachs 2020 Global Energy Conference in Miami (Jan. 7-8)

Wednesday, Jan. 8

Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Conab releases 4th estimate for Brazil’s soy, corn crops

Energy reports and events:

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories

Thursday, Jan. 9

Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports
  • United Nation’s FAO Food Price Index
  • Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology releases climate statement

Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change

Friday, Jan. 10

Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report
  • World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE)
  • Crop Production
  • Crop Production, Annual
  • Grain Stocks
  • Rice Stocks
  • Winter Wheat/Canola Seedings
  • Cotton Ginnings
  • Peanut Prices
  • Malaysia end-2019 palm oil stocks, production, export numbers; Jan. 1-10 palm oil export data

Energy reports and events:

  • Baker Hughes weekly U.S. oil/gas rig counts


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