A closer look at next week…

The measure is a backup plan in case the two parties fail to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling. While a deal is still expected, the road ahead runs through what has become rough but familiar terrain.

Republicans continue to say they want spending cuts as a condition for raising the ceiling. Democrats oppose this, and want a clean debt ceiling that does not require spending cuts.

Under current law, the debt ceiling is "turned off" through May 18. Once it's turned on again, Congress will find the national debt is roughly $17 trillion, and it could take several weeks to find a way forward.

In the upper chamber, senators will vote Monday on a bill that would let states collect sales taxes for purchases made online.

The bill should pass, as it has routinely won the support of more than 70 senators over the last few weeks. But last month, after it became clear that amendment debate would be severely limited, the Senate voted 63-30 in favor of ending debate on the bill.

House Republicans will also use the week to consider a bill aimed at giving private-sector workers more flexibility. The Working Families Flexibility Act would allow companies and employees to work out agreements under which workers could use overtime to win more time away from the job.

While these arrangements would have to be agreed to by companies and workers, Democrats will oppose it by saying the bill undermines the current legal rights workers have to overtime pay.

Republicans see the bill as part of their "making life work" agenda for Americans struggling in a high-unemployment economy. However, Democrats are sure to note the healthy job creation the government reported in April — the economy created 165,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:


The Senate starts at 2 p.m., and at 5:30 p.m., senators are expected to pass S. 743, the Marketplace Fairness Act. This bill would give states the option of collecting sales taxes for the purchase of goods online by people within their state boundaries.

The Senate will consider one bipartisan amendment before passage, which would force states to give a 180-day notice before exercising this new authority. The bill in its current form allows them to start collecting the tax after giving 90 days' notice.

After these votes, the Senate will vote to end debate on a motion to proceed to S. 601, the Water Resources Development Act. That bipartisan bill authorizes projects related to flood and storm risk reduction, coastal and inland navigation and ecosystem restoration.

The House starts work at noon, and in the afternoon it will consider up to three suspension bills. They are:

H.R. 291, the Black Hills Cemetery Act, granting National Forest System land to South Dakota.

H.R. 588, the Vietnam Veterans Donor Acknowledgment Act, allowing for the recognition of private donors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's new Education Center.

H.R. 507, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Trust Land Act, conveying land to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Arizona.


The House starts work at noon on H.R. 1406, the Working Families Flexibility Act. The bill is subject to a rule that the House will pass Tuesday, allowing work on the bill in the afternoon.

The Senate is in for the rest of the week with no firm schedule. However, senators are expected to continue work on the Water Resources Development Act.


The House will consider H.R. 807, the Full Faith and Credit Act. This is the bill that would allow borrowing above the debt limit for reasons related to Social Security and interest on the debt.

The bill was significantly modified by the House Ways and Means Committee. The original bill would not have allowed additional borrowing, and would have simply required the government to prioritize debt interest payments above all others in case the government's borrowing authority is limited.

On Wednesday morning, the House meets at 9 a.m., and will recess right away in preparation for a joint session of Congress. At 10:30 a.m., the House and Senate will hear an address from Park Geun-hye, the president of the Republic of Korea.

On Thursday, the House starts again at 9 a.m., and will finish up any unfinished work from the week.


The House is not in.

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