This week: Homeland Security funding and ObamaCare top agenda

The Senate will begin consideration of funding for the Department of Homeland Security before it expires at the end of this month, while the House will vote yet again this week to repeal ObamaCare.

Democrats are expected to prevent the Senate from moving forward with the House-passed measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after Feb. 27. The bill includes language to defund President Obama’s executive actions to delay deportations for up to 5 million illegal immigrants and freeze the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

{mosads}The first Senate procedural vote, to end debate on the motion to proceed to the DHS bill, will be Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. and require 60 votes to advance.

If the vote falls short due to Democratic opposition, Republicans will have to craft a Plan B for funding the DHS and still satisfy members’ demands to aggressively challenge Obama’s actions on immigration.

ObamaCare repeal

The House will stage the fourth stand-alone, full-scale ObamaCare repeal vote in four years on Tuesday. It will also be nearly the 60th vote since Republicans took over the House majority to otherwise undermine the 2010 healthcare law.

The vote will allow new House GOP freshmen who campaigned on repealing the healthcare overhaul to put their pledges to a vote.

“We have 47 new members of Congress on the Republican side who have never had the chance to cast their vote to repeal ObamaCare,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Fox News’s Bret Baier in an interview last week.

But unlike previous ObamaCare repeal votes, this week’s measure will include a provision directing committees to develop a GOP healthcare reform alternative. Republicans remain united on the “repeal” aspect in their opposition to ObamaCare since it was enacted nearly five years ago, but have yet to coalesce around a way to “replace” it.

Veteran suicide prevention

Legislation aimed at preventing veterans’ suicides will be the Senate’s first vote of the week. The bill is named after a Marine veteran named Clay Hunt who took his own life after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

House members originally gave voice-vote approval to the measure in December. But now-retired Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) prevented it from clearing the Senate at the end of the last Congress, arguing the program would authorize redundant programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The measure would require an annual evaluation of the VA’s mental health and suicide prevention programs and establish a three-year pilot program to pay for psychiatrists’ education loans if they work at the VA for at least two years.

The House passed the bill Jan. 12 by a vote of 403-0. A vote to send the measure to Obama’s desk is slated for Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Regulatory reform

The House will vote on two bills this week to reform the regulatory approval process, both of which have been approved in previous sessions of Congress.

One of the measures, H.R. 50, would require agencies to estimate how much a proposed rule would affect the economy on an annual basis, as well as consult with the private sector on proposed regulations.

The other, H.R. 527, would require federal agencies to identify the direct and indirect consequences of proposed regulations on small businesses.

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


The House will convene at noon for morning hour debate and at 2 p.m. for legislative business. At 6:30 p.m., the House will vote on a series of bills under suspension of the rules, including H.R. 615, which requires the DHS to achieve interoperable communications capabilities within the department.

The Senate will convene at 4 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will vote on final passage of the Clay Hunt SAV Act aimed at preventing veterans’ suicides.


The House will vote on legislation to repeal ObamaCare and direct committees to craft an alternative.

Meanwhile, the Senate will convene and recess for the weekly party caucus luncheons, from 12:30 to 2:15 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., the Senate will vote to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the DHS spending bill. If cloture is invoked, the Senate will vote on the motion to proceed.


The House will vote on a bill to require agencies to estimate how much a proposed rule would affect the economy on an annual basis. Legislation to require agencies to estimate to identify the direct and indirect costs of regulations on small businesses will also come up for a vote.

The Senate may still be working on the DHS spending bill. 

Tags Boehner Department of Homeland Security Illegal immigration John Boehner ObamaCare Tom Coburn

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