Washington week ahead: Focus on immigration

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Monday

The current debate over immigration continues as the Senate considers two different approaches to deal with illegal immigrants. One would increase penalties for employers who hire illegal workers and tighten border security while the other would put some of the 11m illegal immigrants already in the US on the path to legal citizenship. The Senate takes up both pieces of legislation today.

Republican split bars way to immigration reform

Following the Bush administration’s announcement that fuel economy standards for light trucks would be raised in 2008, the Senate holds hearings on what, if anything, the US can do to control greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists have criticised the new regulations for not including the popular big pick-up trucks.

Bush raises fuel economy standard for SUVs

The US housing market has been cooling lately, with the last figures for pending home sales showing a fall of 1.1 per cent. Analysts will be looking to see if the trend continues when new data are released today. One factor pointing to a possible increase is the unusually warm winter.

Tuesday

Slumping retail sales have raised concerns recently. The previous plunge was attributed to heavy rains, and analysts will be watching today’s figures to see if the trend continues now that the weather has improved.

Thursday

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the 2002 law meant to reform corporate accounting and auditing, is again under discussion.

An advisory committee to the Securities and Exchange Commission has recommended exempting 80 per cent of public companies from section 404, which requires public companies to have outside auditors attest to their internal controls. The House of Representatives takes up the issue today.

Friday

The Federal Reserve’s measurement of consumer credit has been on the upswing, with the trend expected to continue with today’s figures.

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