This week in Congress: Keystone, immigration

The Keystone XL oil pipeline and President Obama’s expected executive action on immigration will loom over this week in Congress.

Both chambers will likely adjourn by Thursday and not return until after Thanksgiving. Work on legislation to keep the government open past Dec. 11 is expected to wait until after the holiday.

{mosads}House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the “intention” is for the chamber to adjourn as soon as it passes a new spending measure. But a push by conservatives to block President Obama’s executive action through a bill to keep the government open could complicate that goal.

The Senate will begin consideration of a bill sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday. 

Landrieu is the underdog in a Dec. 6 runoff race against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) after neither won a majority in the general election for the Senate seat. Both candidates are eager to demonstrate their energy policy credentials ahead of the election in oil-rich Louisiana.

As of Friday afternoon, Landrieu appeared to be one vote short of securing the necessary 60 votes to clear Senate procedural hurdles. The House passed an identical measure sponsored by Cassidy on Friday. If the bill gets to the president’s desk, he would likely veto it.

House leadership elections, committee assignments

Across the Capitol, House Democrats plan to hold their leadership elections on Nov. 18. All of the top leaders — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — are all expected to win reelection easily.

Committee chairmanships for the new Congress will also be decided this week. The House GOP Steering Committee, which determines panel assignments, will hold interviews with candidates for open committee chairmanships on Monday and Tuesday. A full roster of the committee chairmen it chooses will be ratified with the rest of the GOP conference on Wednesday.

Open committee chairmanships include House Oversight, Ways and Means, Agriculture, Intelligence and Armed Services.

‘Secret science’ bills

The House will vote on legislation aimed at increasing transparency in the Obama administration’s environmental rule-making.

One measure slated for a vote would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing regulations without including the scientific data to justify them. 

Another bill would overhaul the agency’s Scientific Advisory Board to allow public participation in the proceedings. 

Freshman orientation

Members-elect will be on Capitol Hill for the second and final week of freshman orientation. 

Newly elected and incumbent House lawmakers will also get their new office assignments in the office lottery scheduled for Wednesday. Freshman lawmakers can expect to get the least-desired spaces, while senior members are vying for the largest offices with the best views of the Capitol.

Below is a detailed schedule of the week ahead:


The Senate will convene at 2 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will vote on passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. After completion of the bill, votes to invoke cloture will occur on the nominations of Leslie Joyce Abrams to be a judge for the middle District of Georgia, Mark Howard Cohen to be a judge for the northern District of Georgia and Eleanor Louise Ross to be a judge for the northern District of Georgia.

The House will convene at noon for morning hour and at 2 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be at 6:30 p.m. on noncontroversial bills considered under suspension of the rules.


The Senate will consider Landrieu’s bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Proponents and opponents of the measure will have up to six hours of debate equally divided. A vote on passage subject to a 60-vote threshold would occur at 6:15 p.m. if all time is used. No amendments, motions or points of order would be in order.

After completion of the Keystone bill, the Senate will vote to confirm the Georgia judicial nominations.

Following disposition of the judicial nominees, the Senate will resume consideration of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) USA Freedom Act to end national security agencies’ bulk collection of Americans’ data.

The House will consider H.R. 1422, which would reform the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Off the floor, members of the conservative Republican Study Committee will select a new chairman for the 114th Congress. The race is between Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). 


The Senate will continue consideration of the USA Freedom Act.

The House will vote on H.R. 4012, which would prevent the EPA from issuing regulations unless it makes publicly available the scientific data to justify them. Members will also vote on H.R. 3398, to authorize the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development to provide assistance to support women’s rights in developing countries.

House Republicans are expected to ratify the Steering Committee’s selection of committee chairmen for the 114th Congress.


The House will vote on H.R. 4795, a bill sponsored by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) that would require the EPA to publish updates to air quality standards and application procedures on its website. 

Tags Bill Flores Environmental Protection Agency Keystone XL pipeline lame-duck session Louie Gohmert Mary Landrieu Patrick Leahy

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video