House Republicans will vote early next week on legislation that permanently bans all taxpayer funding of abortion, and takes a swing at abortion coverage under ObamaCare.
Members will consider the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, from Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). Like a similar bill the House passed in 2011 with 16 Democrats, this bill would make permanent the ban on federal spending on abortions that is usually attached to annual appropriations bills.
Democrats are expected to argue that Republicans are taking yet another crack at ObamaCare, and in a way that would limit the ability of people to choose plans that include legal abortion coverage. That opposition will likely lead to a White House veto threat, and a cold shoulder from the Senate, which is unlikely to consider it.
Senators are expected to spend most of the week working on legislation that would delay some of the requirements of the 2012 flood insurance reform law, which was aimed at erasing the $18 billion debt that the National Flood Insurance Program has racked up. That law ends certain flood insurance subsidies, and forces many people to accept higher rates for insurance.
The bill from Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) would delay these changes. Supporters of the bill, which includes both Democrats and Republicans, have said more time is needed to study how requirements in the 2012 law would affect the ability of people to afford to stay in their homes in the face of rising rates.
The House will have a short week, as House Republicans plan to leave Wednesday for their annual policy retreat in Maryland. Among other things, Republicans are expected to talk about immigration — the GOP is due to release a series of principles that will explain what they hope to achieve this year.
The GOP is also expected to discuss plans for how to handle the debt ceiling in February. Under current law, the debt ceiling is suspended until February 7. If there's no agreement by then on how to raise the ceiling, the Treasury Department will have to use "extraordinary measures" to avoid borrowing anything more.
Republicans continue to push for spending cuts as a condition for raising the debt ceiling, although many are also interested in scaling back or delaying ObamaCare as a condition.
The work of both the House and Senate will also be interrupted Tuesday evening, when the House chamber will be cleared in preparation for President Obama's State of the Union speech.
Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:
The Senate starts at 2 p.m., and will begin debating S. 1926, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. At 5:30 p.m., senators are due to hold a vote on a motion to end debate on a motion to proceed to the bill.
The House starts at noon, and in the afternoon it will consider up to three suspension bills:
— H.R. 2166, Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act, which would speed up the process of getting the government's approval to conduct search and recovery operations on federal land,
— H.R. 1684, Ranch A Consolidation Management Improvement Act, conveying land to consolidate the historic "Ranch A" in Wyoming, and
— H.R. 3008, conveying five acres of land from the National Forest System land in California to a foundation.
After meeting in the morning for speeches, the House will start working in the afternoon on H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Members will start by considering a rule for the bill, and then will move to debate and vote on the legislation, although that vote could take place Wednesday morning.
The Senate is in, and is expected to continue working on the flood insurance bill.
At 5:30 p.m., the House chamber will be cleared to allow for a security sweep for Obama's State of the Union speech. Members will be seated by about 8:30 p.m., and the speech starts at 9 p.m.
Both chambers are in, and the House may hold its final vote on the abortion bill today.
Members may also consider a House-Senate conference report on the farm bill, H.R. 2642. But as of Friday, it wasn't clear if this vote would take place, or on what day it could happen.
The House is out both days, and the Senate is expected to adjourn after Thursday.