A closer look at next week…

Senate Democrats will take a crack at a replacement bill, but that effort is already being viewed as too little, too late. Even if the Senate can pass the Democratic bill in a few days (never a sure thing in the Senate), the House seems unlikely to act on it — Democrats are proposing to offset billions in spending cuts with billions in new tax revenue.

{mosads}Even this week, the debate over the sequester devolved into a finger-pointing exercise, as if both parties were prepping for the inevitable. Democrats called on Republicans to compromise and agree to new taxes, while Republicans said Democrats have had more than a year to prepare for the sequester and have yet to propose a viable alternative.

President Obama will again call for a deal in a speech in Newport News, Virginia, an area that is expected to be hit hard by the sequester. On Friday, the day the sequester is due to hit, the House has no votes planned, and the Senate is expected to be out.

Amid the threat of yet another looming crisis, the House will take up its own version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill. The GOP version of the bill was already criticized by Democrats last week as one that would not go as far to protect Indian women and ensure access to grants by LGBT victims of domestic violence.

The House Rules Committee will approve a rule for the VAWA bill on Tuesday, allowing the bill to be considered as early as Wednesday on the House floor.

The Senate will also try to confirm former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense. Senate Republicans blocked Hagel’s nomination from advancing earlier in the month, but it’s expected that Hagel will be confirmed when the Senate tries again, possibly on Tuesday.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may also try to advance the nominations of John Brennan to be the next CIA director, and Jack Lew to be the next Treasury Secretary.

The House currently has 432 members, but steps will take place next week to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson  Jr. (D-Ill.). Jackson pleaded guilty to using more than a half million dollars of campaign money for his own personal use for most of the last decade.

In Illinois next week, Democrats will vote in a special primary election to replace Jackson. He and his wife will be sentenced in the summer, and could each face multiple-year prison terms.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:


The Senate meets at 2 p.m., and will hear Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) read George Washington’s farewell address.

At 5 p.m., senators will take up the nomination of Robert Bacharach to be a U.S. Circuit Court judge for the Tenth Circuit. A vote on this nomination will happen at 5:30 p.m.

The House meets at 2 p.m., and only has one suspension bill on its schedule, H.R. 667, naming the Dryden Flight Research Center after astronaut Neil Armstrong.


The Senate is expected to vote on motions to proceed on legislation to avoid the sequester (this could happen Monday, but we will bet you a dollar it’s Tuesday). A Democratic version would replace billions of dollars in spending cuts with a mix of cuts and new tax increases.

Senate Republicans are also expected to present their own ideas for how to deal with the sequester, although the Senate can be expected to turn those away.

The Senate is in for the rest of the week, but with no set schedule past Tuesday. However, the Senate may seek another vote on the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.

The Senate failed to end debate on Hagel’s nomination before it left for the President’s Day break. And this week, more than a dozen Republican senators called on President Obama to withdraw the nomination. Still, Hagel is widely expected to be confirmed once the Senate does decide to hold a vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he also wants to move ahead with the nominations of John Brennan for CIA Director and Jack Lew for Treasury Secretary soon, although these nominations have yet to get a committee vote.

The House meets at 10 a.m., and will take up a resolution creating a nationwide academic competition.

The House Rules Committee plans to meet Tuesday to set a rule for the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, S. 47. House Republicans are presenting a substitute amendment to that bill.


The House will use these days to consider the House GOP substitute amendment to S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.


No votes are planned in the House.

Tags Chuck Hagel Harry Reid Jack Lew Kelly Ayotte

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