Next week: Fourth try on UI

The Senate will try once again to pass an extension of emergency unemployment benefits, a bill Democrats have so far failed to pass three times this year.

The Senate was thwarted by snow and a lack of votes in early January. Later that month, Democrats failed to pass an 11-month extension, and in February, they fell just one vote shy of advancing another three-month extension.

{mosads}On Friday, the Senate finally agreed to end debate on a five-month extension of benefits that expired in late December. Ten Republicans voted to end debate on that bill, which makes it likely the Senate will be able to approve it in some form next week.

The bill offsets the $10 billion cost by extending customs user fees through 2024, and through pension rule changes that will lead to higher tax bills for companies.

Senate passage would shift the focus back to the House. Republicans have said they would only consider an unemployment bill that includes language that helps people find work, instead of making unemployment more bearable.

Congress will also wrap up work on bills dealing with the “doc fix” and Ukraine.

The Senate on Monday is expected to pass the doc fix bill, which would prevent a 24 percent cut to Medicare doctors on April 1.

The House passed that bill this week, in a curious voice vote that left some Republicans fuming about the lack of a roll call vote. Republican and Democratic leaders agreed to a voice vote in order to avoid risking failure on a bill that leaders saw as must-pass legislation.

The House is the chamber that has to finish up work on Ukraine. On Tuesday, members are expected to pass the Senate-approved version of legislation to aid Ukraine and sanction Russian officials.

Members will also pass a bill to spend $10 million on pro-democracy broadcasts to Ukraine. That language was in the House version, but not in the Senate version that both chambers have agreed to pass.

The House will also deal with the familiar issue of ObamaCare. Republicans will consider a bill to eliminate language in ObamaCare that says anyone working more than 30 hours a week should be considered a full-time employee, and thus subject to ObamaCare.

Republicans say that language is forcing thousands of people to lose work hours, and hurting middle-class incomes. The bill would re-define full-time workers as anyone working at least 40 hours a week.

The House will also consider one bill aimed at reforming the budget process. GOP leaders have signaled that a few bills on the budget process are coming up, some of which may follow in April.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:


The Senate starts at 2 p.m., and in the late afternoon, senators will vote on H.R. 4302, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, or the so-called “doc fix” bill. Sixty votes will be needed for passage.

The Senate will also vote on the nomination of John Owens to be a Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit

The House is out.


The House starts at noon, and in the afternoon it will work on two suspension bills relating to Ukraine:

Members will pass the Senate’s bill authorizing aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, the amended H.R. 4152.

The House will also pass S. 2183, which spends $10 million on pro-democracy broadcasting to Ukraine.

Members will also work on up to four other suspension bills:

H.R. 2413, the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, which would focus the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s work on storm prediction.

H.R. 4005, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act, authorizing appropriations for the Coast Guard in 2015 and 2016.

— H.Con.Res. 92, allowing the Capitol Grounds to be used for the National Peace Officers Memorial Service.

— H.Con.Res. 88, allowing the Capitol Grounds to be used for the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby.

— S. 1557, the Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes medical education programs at children’s hospitals.

The Senate is in for the rest of the week, and is expected to consider the bill to extend unemployment benefits. That’s the Senate-amended H.R. 3979, or S. 2149.


The House will consider its ObamaCare bill of the week:

H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, which would eliminate the 30-hour workweek rule under the healthcare law.


The House will take up the three bills to reform the annual budget process:

H.R. 1874, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act.


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