A closer look at next week… Spending, food stamps, forest fires

But dozens of rank-and-file Republicans balked, and said the vote would be empty symbolism because the Senate would simply reject the ObamaCare defunding language.

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Next week, GOP leaders will spend more time trying to figure out how to meet demands in their caucus to defund the healthcare law, and yet still pass a spending resolution. There is some chance an agreement can be worked out next week, but the House may have to scrap a planned recess and keep working later into September.

In the meantime, House Republicans will put forward a bill next week that is much more likely to appeal to the rank-and-file. They will call up legislation authorizing the federal food stamp program that cuts $40 billion from the program over 10 years.

The bill will include $20 billion in cuts that the House Agriculture Committee passed earlier this year as part of a farm bill. But it will also include another $20 billion in cuts that are achieved by making able-bodied adults who refuse to work or prepare for work ineligible for food stamps.

The latter language will be included at the request of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). He and other Republicans strongly opposed the Obama administration's decision to allow states to waive the work requirement, and vowed to restore the requirement through legislation.

But the proposal is expected to draw significant opposition from Democrats, and could lead to immediate proposals from the Senate and the White House to restore the cuts.

Also next week, the House is likely to pass legislation aimed at increasing timber harvesting on national forest lands. Supporters of the bill argue that failure to harvest enough timber is leaving fuel in forests that is leading to larger wildfires.

Wildfires in California, Montana, Oregon, Texas and other states have increasingly seized the attention of U.S. lawmakers, and the House Natural Resources Committee approved the bill in late July.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:

Monday

The Senate starts at 2 p.m., and will resume work on S. 1392, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. The bill is meant to promote energy-saving building codes, and boost energy savings at manufacturing plants and federal agencies.

The Senate was unable to make any progress on the bill this week, in part because Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was seeking a vote on an amendment to require government workers to enroll in ObamaCare.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week was "totally wasted" as the Senate struggled to move ahead with the bill. The Senate is expected to continue work on this bill throughout the week.

At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will vote on two judicial nominees. They are Patricia Campbell-Smith and Elaine Kaplan, who have both been nominated as Federal Claims Court judges.

The House meets for a pro forma session at 2 p.m., and no votes are expected.

Tuesday

The House meets at noon, and then later in the afternoon for work on six suspension bills. Those bills are:

H.R. 1410, the Keep the Promise Act. This bill prevents approval of any new casinos in the Phoenix metropolitan area, in order to enforce a compact on casino expansion with indian tribes.

H.R. 1003, requiring the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to assess the costs and benefits of its regulations before issuing them.

H.R. 2449, authorizing the President to extend an agreement between the U.S. and South Korea on civil uses of nuclear energy.

H.R. 301, establishing a special envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.

S. 793, the Organization of American States Revitalization and Reform Act.

H.R. 3092, the Missing Children's Assistance Reauthorization Act, to fund the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Senate is in for the rest of the week, mostly likely working on its energy bill.

Wednesday-Thursday

House GOP leaders indicated that they would try to complete work on a short-term continuing resolution on 2014 spending. But as of Friday, there was no bill text, and Republicans have already indicated Congress may need to be in the week of September 23rd to work on this issue.

Otherwise, the House will use these days to take up legislation that would reauthorize federal nutrition programs — language that had been in the farm bill for decades, but which Republicans split off this year after they had trouble finding GOP support for a combined bill.

As of Friday, the GOP had not formally introduced this legislation either.

Members will consider three other bills (which have been introduced) during middle to end of the week:

H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. This bill is aimed at reestablishing forest management practices, including by requiring an increased timber harvest and giving state and local governments more say over forest management.

H.R. 761, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. This bill would streamline the permitting process for the development of critical minerals, including rare earth elements that are prized for their various industrial uses.

H.R. 687, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act. This bill authorizes a land exchange to help facilitate the opening of a copper mine.

Friday

The House starts work at 9 a.m. to finish any unfinished work from the week.

The Senate is not expected to be in.