A closer look at next week ...

Starting Wednesday, Republicans will take steps in the House to tackle the problem of job creation from their point of view. The House will start with a bill that would freeze the work of the National Labor Relations Board, which a federal court said is now run by two board members who were put there unconstitutionally by Obama.

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Republicans have said the possibility that Obama illegally recess-appointed the two board members means NLRB rulings are only confusing worker-rights issues for companies and employees.

The GOP will also take up a bill aimed at increasing hydropower expansion in the United States. And speaking of energy, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on a bill that is designed to speed up the approval of the Keystone pipeline, a project that Republicans say would help create thousands of jobs.

Later in the month, the House will pass a bill that would give private-sector workers the option of taking payment for overtime work in the form of more time off to be with their families.

The Senate's work will focus on gun control legislation. Democrats are expected to present a bill soon that combines ideas like enhanced background checks, funding for school safety and tougher rules against straw gun purchasers, and will likely start the debate this week.

But the bill won't include two items that Obama and many other Democrats wanted in there — a new assault weapons ban and language banning ammunition clips above a certain round-carrying capacity. Supporters of those proposals will get a vote on an amendment to attach these ideas to the bill, but it is not expected to succeed.

In the middle of the week, March's budget debate will be revived somewhat, when the president releases his 2014 budget proposal.

Obama's plan is largely irrelevant, as both the House and Senate have passed their own budget proposals. But it will likely lead to complaints from Democrats on its proposals to cut entitlement programs, as well as harsh Republican criticism for its failure to balance.

Republicans could also try to force a vote on Obama's budget, to show its unpopularity. Last year, a budget plan based on Obama's proposal got zero votes combined in the House and Senate.

On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on Obama's budget plan, which will feature Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:


Monday

The Senate is in at 2 p.m., but will only deliver floor speeches, and will hold no votes.

The House is out.


Tuesday

The House meets at noon for speeches, then in the afternoon for legislative work on three suspension bills:

H.R. 254, the Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation Act, which allows hydropower development in Utah.

H.R. 291, the Black Hills Cemetery Act, giving South Dakota communities rights to cemeteries in the National Forest System.

H.R. 1033, the American Battlefield Protection Program, providing federal grants to preserve Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefield sites.

The Senate starts at 10 a.m. and will vote at noon on the nomination of Patty Shwartz to be a U.S. Circuit Court judge for the Third Circuit.

The Senate is in for the rest of the week, and is likely to be debating the gun bill during this time.


Wednesday

The House will work on legislation aimed at allowing hydropower development along conduits now controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation.

On Tuesday night, the House Rules Committee will approve a rule for this bill, H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act. That will allow the House to consider it Wednesday.

The Obama administration releases its budget plan on Wednesday, which could lead to floor statements in both the House and Senate.


Thursday

The House meets again at noon to work on H.R. 1120, the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. This is the bill that would freeze NLRB work until the Supreme Court rules on whether Obama's recess appointments to the board were constitutional.

The Rules Committee plans to approve a rule for this bill Wednesday evening, allowing work on Thursday.


Friday

The House meets at 9 a.m. to complete any unfinished work on the bills listed above.