Another week, another ObamaCare vote.
House Republicans have kept a sharp focus on legislative efforts to change the 2010 healthcare law, and they're showing no signs of slowing down. Next week, they'll call up a bill to stop the government from penalizing people who choose not to buy health insurance in 2014.
But Republicans point out that the Obama administration has delayed the employer mandate to provide health insurance, and say it's unfair that individuals can't have a similar delay.
If Democrats oppose the bill the way they've opposed every other GOP proposal, the bill is unlikely to move in the Senate. Still, the House debate and vote will give both parties another chance to practice their arguments on healthcare for the 2014 midterm elections.
House Republicans will also keep up their broader theme of deregulation, this time by moving four bills aimed at cutting federal red tape from the energy industry.
These bills would speed up the federal approval process for energy projects, and moderate federal rules on coal production and electricity utilities. Another would provide more immediate relief by letting trucks drive for longer hours to deliver propane and other home heating fuels.
The House will also try again to pass a bill that somehow delays pending flood insurance rate hikes.
The Senate is coming off another week in which it failed to advance any legislation. Senate Democrats tried to move a bill expanding veterans benefits, but Republicans blocked it to protest their inability to offer amendments.
Next week, the Senate will try again with a bill that would increase grants to states to be used for childcare services for low-income families. Senate Democrats say Republicans seem more open to advancing this bill.
The biggest event off the floor will be the release of President Obama's budget for fiscal year 2015. Republicans will complain that the budget is a month late, and calls for $56 billion in new spending.
But the arrival of the budget will spark a flurry of congressional hearings, marking the official start of the congressional effort to get spending bills passed for the next fiscal year.
White House Budget Director Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellObamaCare demonstrates dangers of government interference FDA’s hostility blocks Zika-prevention technology HHS projects 13.8M ObamaCare signups for 2017 MORE will testify in both the House and Senate, as will Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
Republicans are also likely to use the White House budget to pressure the Senate to produce another budget this year, even though Democrats are saying they will not produce one.
Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:
The House meets in the afternoon to work on up to four suspension bills:
— H.R. 2259, the North Fork Watershed Protection Act,
— S. 23, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act,
— H.R. 2197, the York River Wild and Scenic River Study Act, and
— H.Res. 488, supporting democratic protestors in Venezuela.
The Senate starts at 2 p.m., and in the late afternoon it will start work on several Executive Branch nominations. The first of these is Debo Adegbile to be assistant Attorney General — a vote to end debate on her nomination will happen at 5:30 p.m.
A final vote on that nomination is expected Tuesday.
Under the Senate's use of the "nuclear option," all votes to end debate will only need a majority, not a supermajority, a change Senate Republicans continue to protest.
The House is expected to consider one of the big energy bills up this week.
The bill is H.R. 2824, the Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs. It would require a pullback of coal mining regulations that Republicans say are excessive.
Members will also consider three more suspension bills, two of which are part of the House's energy package this week:
— H.R. 2126, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act,
The Senate will vote on Adegbile's nomination, and then start work on four judicial nominations, plus the nomination of Rose Gottemoeller to be undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
The House will take up its latest ObamaCare bill: the Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals Fairness Act, or SIMPLE Fairness Act. This bill, H.R. 4118, would eliminate all penalties for failing to comply with the individual mandate this year.
Members will also take up another energy bill, H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act.
Finally, the House will use this day to consider the latest version of the flood insurance bill, H.R. 3370. As of late Friday, GOP leaders had not released a text of the new compromise bill.
The Senate may be in a position to vote to end debate on a motion to proceed to S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. If that vote succeeds, the Senate will likely spend the rest of the week working on this bill.
The House will use this day to pass the Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act, H.R. 2641. This bill would put time limits in environmental impact reviews on energy construction projects.
The House and Senate are out.