A closer look at next week…

Republicans are hoping they have more of a chance to amend the second wave of Sandy relief, and they have offered several amendments for that purpose.

Two amendments from Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) would require a $17 billion chunk of the aid package to be offset with spending cuts. One of his proposals would require cuts to all discretionary programs to pay for the bill, the other would cut direct farm aid, stop all TARP payments and kill transit subsidies for federal workers.

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Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) has proposed amendments eliminating nearly $22 billion in Sandy aid, as well as amendments that would focus the bill only on funds to be spent in 2013. Another member, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), is proposing to cut more than $300 million from the relief package.

These and other proposals are likely to face an uphill climb in the House, as most Democrats will oppose them along with a significant portion of the Republican Caucus. But many Republicans are eager to make the case for these amendments, just weeks after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told the new Congress that the growing national debt is the single largest problem facing Congress.

The Sandy package is made up of two pieces: one is a $17 billion base bill from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.). The second is a $33.7 billion amendment to that bill from Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).

Once all amendments are disposed of and some form of a package is approved, the Senate will have to consider the bill when it returns the following week.

Members of the House are also expected to read through the U.S. Constitution next week, just as they did at the start of the last Congress. Republican leaders have called for this reading as a way of reminding members of their obligation to uphold the principles of the founding document.

Republicans and Democrats are expected to take turns reading various parts of the Constitution on Tuesday.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:

Monday


The House meets at 2 p.m. for legislative work, and is scheduled to deal with the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act. This bipartisan bill, from Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), is meant to speed up disaster relief granted through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Republicans are calling up this bill (which did not have a number as of Friday) as a suspension bill, a sign it has broad support and can easily meet the two-thirds majority threshold for passage.

The Senate is out all week.

Tuesday-Wednesday

The House meets both days at 9 a.m. for legislative work, and is expected to spend much of Tuesday reading the Constitution. Earlier this month, members approved a House rules package for the 113th Congress that allows for the reading up through Jan. 15.

The House may also start work on the Sandy relief bill, H.R. 152. The House Rules Committee is expected to approve a rule for the bill Monday, which will allow the House to debate and approve the rule on Tuesday.

That would leave Tuesday and Wednesday to debate and vote on the bill and whichever amendments are made in order.

Thursday-Friday


No votes are planned in the House.