All eyes will be on the Iowa caucuses on Monday, but Congress is back in session this week for an energy fight in the Senate and yet another vote to repeal the healthcare law.
Groundhog Day references will likely be inevitable when the House votes once again Tuesday, Feb. 2, on legislation to repeal ObamaCare.
The House has voted more than 60 times since Republicans took over the majority in 2011 to undo the healthcare law. Tuesday’s vote, however, will be the first attempt to override President Obama’s veto of a measure to overturn his signature legislative accomplishment.
Consideration of the repeal measure - the first to pass both the House and Senate - is expected to stall after this week’s vote. Republicans are not expected to secure the necessary two-thirds majority to override a presidential veto. And once the veto override attempt fails in the House, the Senate won’t be able to consider it.
The bill technically already passed the House in mid-January with a majority of lawmakers voting for it. But more than 130 members were absent when Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanOvernight Finance: Lawmakers scramble to avoid shutdown | Why some Republicans worry about Trump's tax plan | Trade tensions with Canada Senate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' New ObamaCare repeal bill on life support MORE (R-Wis.) closed the vote on time to punish tardiness.
Ryan had admonished lawmakers days earlier to be on time for votes, saying it would “help with the maintenance of the institution.” By closing the vote after the officially allotted 15 minutes, the Speaker made it clear he’ll make serious efforts to enforce a rule largely ignored by his predecessor.
Tuesday’s do-over will consequently be a test of how well lawmakers can be on time.
Both measures were originally expected to be considered last week. But the House canceled votes for the entire week after a blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow on Washington, resulting in days of cleanup efforts.
The House is also expected to vote on a handful of bills reported out of the House Financial Services Committee.
One measure, titled the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015, would reform certain housing programs for low-income families. Another bill, the Financial Institution Consumer Protection Act, would limit federal agencies’ ability to order depository institutions to terminate specific customer accounts.
Senators will continue debating a wide-ranging energy bill as they try to navigate around divisive amendments and wrap up their work this week.
The legislation from Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling MORE (R-Alaska) marks the first energy rewrite in seven years and includes a myriad of policies including expanding the conservation fund and updating the electricity grid.
While approximately a dozen amendments to the legislation have been approved, lawmakers have already submitted nearly 200 potential changes.
Democrats are pushing to link the Flint drinking water crisis to the bill, including $400 million for fixing pipes in Flint, Mich., and another $200 to establish "Centers of Excellence" on lead in drinking water.
Separately, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate confirms Labor Secretary Acosta Meghan McCain: Obama 'a dirty capitalist like the rest of us' Warren 'troubled' by Obama's speaking fee MORE is tying a long-brewing battle over the Puerto Rico financial crisis to the legislation.
The Massachusetts senator—backed by a handful of her Democratic colleagues—is offering an amendment that would temporarily protect the island territory from debt collectors.
The senators argue the stay is needed to "facilitate an orderly process for stabilizing, evaluating, and comprehensively resolving" Puerto Rico's crisis.
While lawmakers broadly argue that they are concerned about Puerto Rico's financial situation, how to resolve it has dissolved into a largely partisan battle.
Votes haven't been scheduled on either amendment, but trying to link them could bog down the otherwise uncontroversial energy bill in a party-line battle.
Meanwhile, Republicans are hoping to use the legislation to block President Obama's temporary halt of new leases for coal mining on federal land.
Under an amendment from Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchGinsburg pines for more collegial court confirmations Senate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' Overnight Finance: Inside Trump's tax plan | White House mulls order pulling out of NAFTA | New fight over Dodd-Frank begins MORE (R-Utah), the ban would be allowed to go forward if Congress signs off and if the Obama administration submits a plan showing the new rule wouldn't negatively impact federal revenue and details the impacts on jobs and related industries.
Senators are expected to vote on the next group of amendments after weekly policy lunches on Tuesday afternoon.