Next week: Lawmakers to debate defense and drones

Debate over the national defense authorization will dominate the House next week, while consideration of a circuit court judge will likely turn into a proxy war over drone policy in the Senate.

The House will consider the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, with expected debates over base closures, military sexual assault and retiring fighter jets. 

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Immigration may also enter the fray if Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) pushes his proposal to grant green cards to young undocumented immigrants who serve in the military. Denham, who represents a district with a large Hispanic population, is a Democratic target this fall.

But House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) has said the defense authorization isn't the right jurisdiction for an immigration policy. Additionally, Heritage Action, an influential conservative group, said it would urge members to vote against Denham's measure.

Sex trafficking prevention, Nigeria kidnappings

The House will consider five bills to prevent domestic sex trafficking and provide services to victims. One measure would require advance notice of intended travel by registered sex offenders outside the U.S., while another would increase the amount a victim may recover in a civil action against the alleged perpetrator.

Members will also vote on a resolution to condemn the abduction of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls by the terrorist group Boko Haram. 

Veterans Affairs accountability

The House will vote on legislation to give the Veterans Affairs secretary authority to fire senior executives due to poor performance.

Consideration of the bill comes in light of recent allegations that employees at multiple Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country tried to cover up veterans' long wait times for medical care.

The measure will likely be brought up under an expedited procedure known as suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority.

Water resources conference report

Both the House and Senate are expected to take up a conference report on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The $8.2 billion bill would authorize funding to boost U.S. water infrastructure projects.

Negotiations between the House and Senate lasted for months due to different approaches to determining which projects should receive funding. The legislation is expected to pass both chambers.

Barron nomination, drones

The Senate is expected to consider David Barron to serve as a judge on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The nomination is likely to become a broader debate over the Obama administration's use of drones.

White House lawyers met with Democratic senators last week to assuage their concerns over Barron's role in drafting legal memos justifying the 2011 killing of an American citizen in Yemen with a drone.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced that he plans to stage a filibuster against Barron's nomination. Paul similarly filibustered CIA Director John Brennan's nomination last year in a nearly 13-hour speech as a protest against the administration's use of drones. 

But due to the Senate filibuster rules change, Paul will not actually be able to prevent Barron's confirmation. Most judicial nominees can now advance and be confirmed with a simple majority vote instead of the previous 60-vote threshold.
 

Monday

The Senate will convene at 11 a.m. for a pro forma session.

The House will vote at 6:30 p.m. on eight bills under suspension of the rules:

- H.R. 685, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces.

- H.R. 2203, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Jack Nicklaus.

- S. 309, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol.

- H.R. 1209, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II members of the "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders."

- H.R. 1726, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment.

- H.R. 2939, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Shimon Peres. 

- H.R. 3658, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the so-called Monuments Men who preserved works of art during and following World War II.

- H.R. 4268, to allow the continued operation of trucks on certain parts of Route 78 in Mississippi.

Tuesday

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will vote on confirmation of the nominations of Gregg Costa to be a U.S. circuit judge for the fifth circuit. It will also vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Stanley Fischer to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. 

The House will begin consideration of the 2015 national defense authorization. It will also likely vote on more bills under suspension of the rules, including:

- H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act conference report.

- H.R. 4031, to give the Veterans Affairs secretary expanded authority to fire senior executives for poor performance.

H. Res. 573, to condemn the abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls by the extremist group Boko Haram.

- H.R. 4573, to require advance notice of intended travel by registered child-sex offenders outside the U.S. to the country of destination.

- H.R. 3610, to increase the amount a victim of sex trafficking may recover in a civil action against a perpetrator. It would also require states to establish laws to discourage prosecuting against minors involved in sex trafficking and instead refer the minor to child protective services.

- H.R. 3530, to impose an additional fine of $5,000 on any person convicted of crimes related to sex trafficking, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children or human smuggling. 

- H.R. 4225, to create a penalty for individuals who knowingly sell advertising that offers commercial sex acts violating federal prohibitions against sex trafficking.

- H.R. 4058, to require state foster plans to establish policies for screening children who that state has reasonable cause to believe are victims of sex trafficking.

Wednesday - Thursday

The Senate is expected to begin consideration of David Barron's nomination to serve as a judge on the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

The House will continue debate of the 2015 national defense authorization.