After a week away from Washington, House Republicans are planning to pass several government oversight bills next week, including bills that push back against IRS political targeting, require clear and less costly federal regulations, and gut a Supreme Court decision.
Republicans have long argued that getting government out of the way is the best way to promote job growth. GOP leaders will make that case with an omnibus bill that would require both regulatory transparency and lower-cost regulations.
Republicans see that pending rule as an attempt to formally constrain these groups, which they fear will hurt conservative groups more than others.
And speaking of the IRS, the House will consider four other bills affecting the agency, including one that would prohibit the IRS from asking groups about their political or religious beliefs.
Another anti-regulation bill up this week is aimed at stopping the government from imposing unfunded mandates on state and local governments. The bill improves upon an unfunded mandate bill signed by President Clinton in 1995.
The Supreme Court won't be spared from the House's oversight work. One bill up this week would legislate around the Court's 2005 decision on eminent domain.
The famous Kelo v City of New London decision said governments at all levels take take property from one owner and give it to someone else if they plan to use it to boost economic development. But the GOP says that ruling went too far, and gives the government authority to seize private property if they feel another owner could generate more tax revenue.
Elsewhere, the House is expected to consider a bill to amend the 2012 flood insurance reforms, to help spare homeowners from unaffordable rate increases.
As expected, the Senate isn't participating in the House's broad oversight theme. Instead, senators will start work on an omnibus veterans bill that would boost veterans' healthcare programs and give veterans in-state tuition rates at all schools across the country.
The bill also seeks to permanently fix a cut to the growth rate of veterans' pensions. Earlier this year, Congress passed a bill to avoid a cut in the growth rate for current service members and veterans, but anyone enlisting after 2013 would still see a cut — the bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would eliminate that cut as well.
Democrats have said they may at any time bring up a bill to extend emergency unemployment insurance and raise the minimum wage. However, it's unclear if those bills will be ready to go so soon after the week-long break.
Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:
The Senate starts at 2 p.m., and Sen. Angus King (I-Vt.) will read President George Washington's farewell address, an event that happens in the Senate each year.
At 5 p.m., the Senate will debate the nomination of Jeff Meyer to be U.S. district judge for Connecticut. A vote to end debate on Meyer's nomination will happen at 5:30 — if cloture is invoked, there could be up to two hours of debate on the nomination, then a final vote.
Then, the Senate will vote to end debate on the nomination of James Moody Jr. to be a district judge for Arkansas. Further work on nominations will take place Tuesday.
The House is out.
The House starts at noon, and in the afternoon it will consider up to seven suspension bills. Roll call votes on these will take place at 6:30 p.m., or possibly later in the week:
— H.R. 1211, the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act,
— H.R. 1232, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act,
— H.R. 1423, the Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act,
— H.R. 1123, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act,
— H.R. 1944, the Private Property Rights Protection Act,
— H.R. 2530, the Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act, and
— H.R. 2531, the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act.
The Senate will try to finish Moody's nomination today, as well as the nominations of James Donato and Beth Freeman to be district judges in California.
After that, Senate Democrats hope to hold a procedural vote on S. 1982, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits Pay Restoration Act. This bill will only come up after nominations work is done, and the Senate will start with a vote to end debate on a motion to proceed to the measure — as a result, work could start as late as Wednesday.
The House will work on the omnibus deregulation bill, which is the Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency (ALERRT) Act, H.R. 2804. This is the bill to promote more transparency and lower costs in regulations.
The House will also take up H.R. 3865, the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, which is the bill to freeze the pending IRS regulation on tax-exempt groups.
The House will start by considering a rule for both bills, which the House Rule Committee will have approved on Tuesday. After that, members will be able to debate and pass both.
The House also has to finish work on the Consumer Financial Protection and Soundness Improvement Act, H.R. 3193. This bill would restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — the House started work on this measure earlier this month.
Two other suspension bills will be considered:
— H.R. 3308, the Taxpayer Transparency Act, and
— H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. This is the flood insurance bill, but as of late Friday, GOP leaders had not released an amended text of the bill.
The Senate is in for the rest of the week, and will continue working on the veterans bill.
The House is expected to consider the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act, H.R. 899. Members will again start with a rule for the bill, and then the bill itself.
— This story was updated at 8:29 p.m. to reflect the final House schedule for the week.