But resolution of the fight over federal disaster aid this week should allow scores of Democrats to support the bill, and the sense that most House members support it will allow Republicans to try approving it by unanimous consent on Tuesday (just as they did this week on the bill funding the government through next Tuesday). The bill gives members six weeks of breathing room on spending matters, but also allows for six more weeks of fighting over how to pay for disaster aid.
Once spending is taken off the front burner, House Republicans will again turn their attention to curbing Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Republicans will bring up two bills that would force the EPA to delay rules related to emissions from commercial boilers and cement factories.
Senate Democrats plan on advancing their own agenda, most notably in a Monday procedural vote on a bill that aims to pressure China to allow its currency to appreciate more quickly. Congress has talked about approving various China currency bills since the middle of the last decade, but has yet to find a vehicle that can pass both houses.
Despite support among Democrats, the Senate might find it difficult to approve the latest iteration on Monday. Still, the vote is seen as part of a larger effort to address various trade issues in the sunup to possible congressional approval of three pending free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
In case members need reminders about the woeful state of the economic recovery in the United States (which some are close to calling a double-dip recession), Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will offer the Fed’s economic outlook to the Joint Economic Committee on Tuesday. That testimony can be expected to give Democrats a chance to seek his approval for Obama’s jobs plan, and Republicans a chance to seek his approval for deregulation and spending cuts.
If history is any guide, Bernanke will give a nod to the importance of reducing the debt, but avoid supporting specific short-term recommendations, and will instead say it’s up to Congress to decide how best to proceed.
Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:
The House meets at 2 p.m. to start work on seven suspension bills. They are:
H.R. 686, the Utah National Guard Readiness Act;
H.R. 765, the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011;
H.R. 489, to clarify the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior with respect to the C.C. Cragin Dam and Reservoir, and for other purposes;
H.R. 473, the Help to Access Land for the Education of Scouts Act;
H.R. 470, the Hoover Power Allocation Act of 2011;
H.R. 670, to convey certain submerged lands to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands in order to give that territory the same benefits in its submerged lands as Guam, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa have in their submerged lands; and
S.Con.Res. 29, authorizing the use of the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol for an event to present the Congressional Gold Medal to Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., Michael Collins and John Herschel Glenn Jr., in recognition of their significant contributions to society.
The Senate meets at 2 p.m. to start work on S. 1619, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011. A cloture vote on the bill is expected at 5:30 p.m.
The House meets at noon to start work on a motion to concur with the Senate-passed bill allowing government operations through Nov. 18. Republicans are planning to pass this bill by unanimous consent.
The Senate is in session Tuesday through Thursday, and might resume work on the currency legislation.
The House meets at noon again, possibly to continue work on H.R. 2681 and H.R. 2250. Members might also take up H.R. 1343, a bill aimed at recouping unused broadband grants that were provided in the 2009 stimulus bill.
The House meets at 9 a.m. to conclude work on the above-mentioned bills. Last votes are expected by 3 p.m.
The House is not in session, and the Senate is not expected to hold votes.