A closer look at next week… Congress crashes on spending, debt ceiling

On Friday, the House passed its proposed answer — a bill that funds the government through mid-December, defunds ObamaCare and prioritizes debt payments in case the government shuts down.

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Senate Democrats hate that bill, and this week will try to strip the ObamaCare language from it. If they succeed, the bill will likely bounce back to the House and force GOP leaders to decide whether they should pass the Senate version or try to tweak it.

If the legislation gets stuck in the Senate, that could give Republicans more leverage in a final negotiation with the White House over spending.

All that said, the chances of a government shutdown seem very remote — both parties have been down this road a few times in the last few years, and seem to strongly prefer avoiding a shutdown.

The House will also consider the other elephant in the room, which is the debt ceiling. GOP leaders said they hope to take up a bill that gives the government the flexibility to take on more debt for another year.

Republicans plan to fill the bill with language that they say will boost economic growth, including approving the Keystone oil pipeline and delaying implementation of ObamaCare. The GOP is also expected to seek new commitments to trim federal spending, which Democrats will oppose.

The Obama administration has said the debt ceiling needs to be increased by mid-October.

The Senate starts work on Tuesday, and will primarily focus on the continuing resolution during the week. The House shows up Wednesday, and GOP leaders have said they will not leave town until the spending bill is finished, which could mean work over the weekend.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:

Monday

The Senate meets at 2 p.m., but has no votes planned.

The House meets for a pro forma session at 11 a.m., but also has no votes planned.

Tuesday

The Senate is in, and at 11:15 a.m., it will consider the nomination of Todd Hughes to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit.

At any time after that vote, the Senate might move to take up the House-passed spending resolution, H.J.Res. 59, which is what the Senate is expected to work on for the rest of the week.

The House is out.

Wednesday

The House meets at noon, and later in the afternoon it will take up 3 suspension bills. Any needed votes will happen at 6:30 p.m.

The suspension bills are:

H.R. 1961, extending an exemption from the fire-retardant materials construction requirement for certain vessels.

H.R. 3095, ensuring that new government requirements for testing people operating commercial motor vehicles for sleep disorders are adopted after a formal rule-making process.

H.R. 2600, amending the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act to clarify how the law applies to condominiums.

Thursday

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

This bill was expected to come up last week, but was delayed after the GOP decided to move ahead with the continuing resolution.

Friday


The House starts at 9 a.m., and may be in a position to work on a debt-ceiling bill today. GOP leaders said they hope to get this bill done this week, but as of Friday, no text of the bill had been released.

Members may also work on the continuing resolution if the Senate has passed its own version by then. But that work might be delayed until the weekend.

Saturday-Sunday

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said this week that weekend work might be needed to finish the continuing resolution. On Friday, he said meeting times for any weekend work would be announced sometime next week, and the schedule depends heavily on the ability of the Senate to make progress.