Republican House will enjoy center stage for most of January

The House Republican majority will take center stage for much of January under a new Senate calendar announced Monday by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

The Senate's top Democrat revised the chamber's January schedule to include a two-week state work period (coinciding with the Martin Luther King Day holiday) from Jan. 10-21. 

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That will leave the newly sworn-in GOP House alone in Washington, and the party will likely make a series of high-profile but mainly symbolic votes.

The first votes scheduled by leaders in the opening days of a new Congress typically address prominent issues and campaign promises from the previous election cycle.

The GOP, for instance, is expected to act quickly on legislation that would repeal part or all of President Obama's signature healthcare reform law. (Such a move is expected to fail in the Senate.) A flurry of other lawmakers' favorite bills are likely to be filed in the first few days of the new session.

Both the House and Senate will be in session from Jan. 5, the day on which new members of Congress are sworn in, until Jan. 7, the Friday of that week.

While Democrats are out of town the next two weeks, the Republican House will work Jan. 11 and 12, followed by a three-day retreat for the GOP Jan. 13-15.

The House will be off for the MLK holiday and work Jan. 18-20, with no votes scheduled for Friday.

The House and Senate will both be back in simultaneous action on Jan. 24.

Reid's schedule revisions also come after an unusually busy lame-duck session of Congress in December. The lame-duck has seen senators vote twice on weekends, and Reid has threatened work up until the Christmas holiday and perhaps beyond.

The Republican calendar, announced by incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), represents an effort toward reform in congressional scheduling. Cantor's plan includes longer D.C. work weeks punctuated by recesses once every two weeks. The second-ranking House Republican has faced some criticism from a member of his own party for crafting a schedule that is too lax


—This post was updated at 1:21 p.m.

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