This week: Crunch time as recess looms

Legislation to address the influx of child migrants crossing the border will dominate the House and Senate this week, but the chances of a deal landing on the president's desk are slim.

House Republicans have still not united around any plan regarding the border. Many Republicans want to at least pass a bill before adjourning on Thursday for the five-week August recess. But many conservatives don't think additional funding for the Obama administration will be a remedy.

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Democrats, meanwhile, remain largely opposed to including policy changes that expedite deportations of the immigrant children.

The Senate may vote this week on a $2.7 billion measure introduced by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) that does not include policy modifications. 

However, Mikulski's bill is unlikely to garner the necessary 60 votes to clear an expected GOP filibuster. 

House GOP lawsuit

The House will vote this week on a resolution authorizing the Republican lawsuit against President Obama for his use of executive action.

At the center of the lawsuit is Obama's executive action to delay the healthcare law's mandate requiring employers with 50 or more workers to provide insurance coverage. 

Republicans say the lawsuit is necessary because Obama has overstepped his authority as president. But Democrats argue it is a "political stunt" ahead of the midterm elections.

A vote on the resolution is expected Thursday.

Will there be a VA deal?

House and Senate negotiators are racing to reach an agreement on legislation to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs before leaving for the August recess.

Both chambers have each passed bills to allow veterans to seek care from non-VA facilities. Disagreements, however, remain over how to pay for the legislation.

Republicans insist that any legislation should be offset. But Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other Democrats are willing to only offset some, but not all, of the cost. Many Democrats have pointed out that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were not offset.  

Nonetheless, both sides want to avoid leaving Washington without an agreement as veterans continue to wait months for medical appointments.

In the meantime, the Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of the new VA secretary nominee, former Procter & Gamble executive Robert McDonald.

Highways

The Senate will vote on legislation to maintain the Highway Trust Fund through May 2015.

The Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of money next month absent congressional action.

Earlier this month, the House passed its version on a 367-55 vote. The measure would be offset using revenue from "pension smoothing," customs user fees and funds from an account dealing with leaking underground storage tanks.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he will also allow votes on an alternative bipartisan bill to replenish the Highway Trust Fund through Dec. 31, as well as two GOP amendments. 

Ramsey Cox and Martin Matishak contributed.

 

Below is a more detailed schedule of the week ahead:

Monday

The House will vote at 6:30 p.m. on a series of bills under suspension of the rules. Measures on tap include a bill, H.R. 3846, to authorize Customs and Border Protection and clarify the Department of Homeland Security's mission. Another bill, H.R. 1771, would tighten enforcement of sanctions against North Korea.

The Senate will convene at 2 p.m. for leadership remarks. At 5:30 p.m., senators will vote on the nomination of Pamela Harris to be a U.S. circuit judge for the fourth circuit. Afterward, the Senate will vote on the following nominations:

- Joseph P. Mohorovic to be a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Elliot F. Kaye to be a commissioner and chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Brian P. McKeon to be a Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense

Tuesday

The House will consider further bills under suspension of the rules, including a measure, H.R. 4709, to establish enforcement standards for prescription drug abuse. It will also take up a bill, H.R. 4315, to require the Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Commerce to publish data online regarding whether a species should be designated as "endangered" or "threatened." The legislation includes the text of three other measures regarding the Endangered Species Act.

The Senate may continue work on the Bring Jobs Home Act sponsored by Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.). 

Wednesday

The House may continue work on the Endangered Species Act legislation, or it may consider legislation regarding the child migrants crossing the border.

The Senate may turn to voting on the Highway Trust Fund.

Thursday

The House will vote on a resolution authorizing the House GOP lawsuit against President Obama for his use of executive action.

The Senate may consider its own border bill before adjourning for the recess.