Many Republicans, however, fear that even passing a narrow bill might allow a conference committee to agree a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, something they oppose. Several GOP members have said openly the House should not pass anything in order to avoid this possible outcome.
The lack of a vote next week could lead to criticism from Democrats that Republicans are dodging the issue entirely.
The 2010 health law is once again becoming a focal point of GOP action, as many Republicans have said they would demand a defunding of the law as part of any deal on 2014 spending. And Republicans are still outraged over the IRS targeting scandal, and the apparent waning interest the Obama administration has in ensuring that politics is not a factor in tax enforcement decisions.
The House will also take up a new version of legislation that would require Congress to approve federal regulations that have major economic impacts, as well as other bills aimed at improving the government's customer service, cost effectiveness, and employee accountability.
A vote on a student loan bill is also in the works. The Senate passed a compromise bill this week, and the House is expected to consider it quickly.
Speaking of 2014 spending bills, the House and the Senate will each tackle their own versions of the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bill. The two bills are a good illustration of the wide differences between the House and Senate on spending — the Senate bill spends $54 billion, and the House bill spends $44 billion.
Those differences are increasingly likely to force Congress to negotiate a continuing spending resolution this year, one that may have to somehow negotiate the debt ceiling, taxes and other issues that have split the two parties for the last two-and-a-half years.
Also next week, the Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of Jim Comey to be the next Director of the FBI, and two new Democratic nominees to the National Labor Relations Board. The Obama administration picked new nominees as part of a deal that allowed the Senate to move ahead on a package of Executive Branch nominees.
Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:
The Senate starts at 2 p.m., and will resume consideration of S. 1243, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
At 4:30 p.m., senators will consider the nomination of Jim Comey to be Director of the FBI, and they'll vote on a motion to end debate on this nomination at 5:30 p.m.
If the Senate votes to end debate, there are 8 hours of debate scheduled, although the Senate could decide to quickly vote on the nomination, even as early as Monday evening.
The House is not in session.
The House will start work on its version of the 2014 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, H.R. 2610. The bill is covered by an open rule that allows unlimited amendments.
At some point in the day, members will consider up to three suspension bills:
— H.R. 2094, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act,
— H.R. 2754, the Collectible Coin Protection Act, and
— H.R. 1300, amending the Fish and Wildlife Act to reauthorize volunteer programs in national wildlife refuges.
The Senate is in for the rest of the week, and at some point will
consider three Democratic nominees to the National Labor Relations
Board. The nominees are Kent Yoshiho Hirozawa, Nancy Schiffer and Mark
Members will use these days to finish the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development spending bill.
The House will also consider H.R. 1582, the Energy Consumers Relief Act. This bill would would only allow Environmental Protection Agency rules with an impact of more than $1 billion to be issued after a Department of Energy finding that the rule does not significantly hurt the economy.
Members will also take up H.R. 367, the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act. This is similar to legislation the House approved last year; it would require Congress to approve any regulation that has an economic impact of more than $100 million.
Somewhere along the way, members will vote on a motion to concur in the Senate-amended H.R. 1911, the student loan interest rate bill.
In addition to these bills, several suspension bills will be considered:
— H.R. 2711, the Citizen Empowerment Act,
— H.R. 2579, the Government Employee Accountability Act,
— H.R. 1660, the Government Customer Service Improvement Act,
— H.R. 313, Government Spending Accountability Act,
— H.R. 1541, Common Sense in Compensation Act,
— H.R. 2565, the STOP IRS Act,
— H.R. 2769, the Stop Playing on Citizen's Cash (SPOCC) Act,
— H.R. 2768, Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act,
— H.R. 1897, the Vietnam Human Rights Act,
— H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, and
— H.Res. 222, recognizing the partnership between the U.S. and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The House starts at 9 a.m. and will consider:
— H.R. 2009, the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act. This bill would prohibit the IRS from implementing any part of ObamaCare.