This week: House gears up for debt ceiling votes

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Following the unveiling of this proposal, House Republicans postponed plans to take up a bill reinstating a pay freeze for federal employees, which was slated for a vote sometime this week. President Obama reinstated raises for federal employees and members of Congress last year, and lawmakers already eliminated the pay hike for Congress as part of the "fiscal cliff" agreement.

The Senate might move this week to address a supplemental spending package for Hurricane Sandy relief. The House approved the $50 billion package earlier this month despite conservative opposition. The legislation is not likely to face the same level of opposition in the Senate, which approved its own package in December before the 112th Congress expired.

With the debt limit looming, the House Ways and Means Committee will discuss the nation’s financial management on Tuesday.            

The government is expected to exhaust its ability to pay its bills by mid-February at the earliest, and the panel will spend the afternoon discussing how previous Congresses and administrations have addressed the nation’s borrowing needs. They also will explore whether the White House has options to get around the debt limit if it is not reached in time.

A number of conservative heavyweights and 2016 hopefuls will be in Washington this weekend for the National Review Institute Summit, and fiscal issues will be a major topic of conversation. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will be among those debating the conservative way forward.

On Wednesday, a top labor official will launch a critique of free trade agreements in remarks. Thea Lee, deputy chief of staff for the AFL-CIO, will argue the dangers of such agreements.

Also Wednesday, House appropriators will gather for their first organizational meeting of the 113th Congress.