Debate on measures to limit abortions and approve the Keystone pipeline will bookend a week dominated by President Obama's State of the Union address.

The president's address on Tuesday will come as House and Senate Republicans remain divided over how to respond to the November executive action to shield up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation. It remains unclear when and how the House legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security and defund President Obama's immigration actions will be considered in the Senate.


Freshman Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) will deliver the official GOP response to the State of the Union. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) will deliver the Spanish language version, while Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) will give a separate Tea Party response.


The House is slated to consider legislation on Thursday that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Debate on the measure will fall on the same day as the annual March for Life, during which thousands of demonstrators descend upon Washington to protest the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

Exceptions allowing abortions would only be granted under the bill in the case of rape, incest or if the mother's life is threatened. But as the bill is written, the instance of rape would only qualify if it’s reported to law enforcement.

Democrats late last week warned that the language raises the specter of ex-Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) remark about "legitimate rape" that ultimately derailed his 2012 Senate bid.

Keystone pipeline

The Senate will continue debating legislation to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline for the third week. An identical measure passed in the House two weeks ago.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' Romney pledges 'open mind' ahead of impeachment trial McConnell proposes compressed schedule for impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.), who repeatedly pledged to run a more productive and open chamber, is already clashing with Democrats who want votes on a litany of amendments to the Keystone bill. One of those amendments, from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Former health insurance executive: Current system is bankrupting country MORE (I-Vt.), would force senators to go on the record about whether they believe climate change is real.

Four amendments are currently pending, one of which is from Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenBill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Al Franken mocks McConnell: 'Like listening to Jeffrey Dahmer complain about the decline of dinner party etiquette' MORE (D-Minn.) and would require the use of U.S.-made iron and steel in the pipeline's construction.

Below is a day-by-day breakdown of the week ahead:


Neither chamber will be in session due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.


The House will convene at noon for morning debate and 2 p.m. for legislative business, but no votes are expected. Members will consider a resolution condemning the terrorist attacks in Paris against satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The chamber will recess by 5:30 p.m. for a security sweep ahead of the State of the Union.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. and recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for the weekly party caucus luncheons. Roll-call votes on amendments to the Keystone bill are expected shortly afterward.

Members of the House and Senate, as well as Cabinet members and other dignitaries, will gather by approximately 8:30 p.m. in the House chamber for President Obama's State of the Union address at 9 p.m.

Republican responses to the State of the Union will be delivered after the speech concludes.


The House will consider legislation to expedite the federal review process of applications for natural gas pipelines.

The Senate will continue consideration of the Keystone bill.


The House will vote on a bill to ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Debate on the measure will fall on the same day as the annual March for Life. Last votes of the week are expected no later than 3 p.m.

The Senate is expected to still be debating the Keystone legislation.