This week: Congress returns
© Hill file photo

The peace and quiet on Capitol Hill over the last five weeks is coming to an end.

Iran will take center stage this week in both the House and Senate as lawmakers’ first order of business upon their return Tuesday from the August recess.

Enough Senate Democrats have announced support for the international accord on Iran’s nuclear program to sustain President Obama’s veto of a resolution of disapproval. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also expressed confidence last week that her caucus will vote in sufficient numbers to protect the president’s veto, since more than 100 House Democrats have announced their support.


Congressional Republicans, virtually unanimous in opposition to the deal, have long been expected to be able to pass a resolution of disapproval. The remaining question, however, is whether Senate Democrats will be able to mount a filibuster and prevent it from reaching a final vote at all.

While Obama has the 34 supporters needed to uphold a veto, he's still three votes shy of the 41 needed to block the legislation from initially passing in the Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Sanders: 'Not crazy' about nixing the Senate filibuster McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump MORE (R-Ky.) has warned Democrats against filibustering the deal, saying last month that the upper chamber deserves a "thorough, thoughtful and respectful debate." 

Committee chairmen have also reportedly been asked to cancel hearings for the week to make time for the Iran debate on the Senate floor. 

Opponents of the deal need to convince three of the five undecided Democrats to buck Obama if they want to force him to issue a veto, which he has only done four times in his tenure. 

So far, Democratic Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Baseball legend Frank Robinson, first black manager in MLB, dies at 83 Biden speaking to Dems on Capitol Hill as 2020 speculation mounts: report MORE (Md.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (N.Y.) and Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWilliam Barr is right man for the times This week: Trump delivers State of the Union amid wall fight BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president MORE (N.J.) have said they will vote against the deal. 

Congress has until Sept. 17 to pass legislation on the Iran nuclear deal and until early October to try to override a potential veto. 

The Senate will begin debate on the Iran deal immediately upon convening Tuesday afternoon. In the House, floor debate won’t start until Wednesday and may last all the way through Friday.

Planned Parenthood, government funding

Iran will consume nearly all floor time in both the House and Senate this week. But figuring out how to keep the federal government funded past September will nonetheless be on the minds of lawmakers in their first days back in Washington.

Conservatives and members of the GOP establishment are already at odds over strategy, similar to previous spending fights over immigration and ObamaCare.

In the wake of controversial videos regarding Planned Parenthood's use of fetal tissue, many House conservatives, as well as multiple Republican senators running for president, want to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood through a stopgap spending bill Congress will have to pass in order to avoid a shutdown on Oct. 1. 

But other GOP lawmakers are wary of another potential shutdown threat following the disastrous showdown in 2013 over ObamaCare.

House Republicans will gather as a group for the first time since July on Wednesday morning, where discussion of how to pass a spending bill by the end of the month may come up. Senate Republicans are also expected to meet for their weekly caucus luncheon Wednesday afternoon.

Without offering specifics, a notice from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) office warned that additional legislative items are possible this week.

But the first votes of the week for both chambers will be noncontroversial. Upon returning to session Tuesday afternoon, the House will debate five bills under suspension of the rules and vote at 6:30 p.m. 

The Senate, meanwhile, will begin debate on the Iran deal when it convenes at 2 p.m. It will break from the Iran discussion to vote at 5:30 p.m. on the nomination of Roseann A. Ketchmark to be a U.S. district judge for the western district of Missouri.