This week: Planned Parenthood, Iran top agenda

The clock may be ticking for Congress to avoid a shutdown, but neither the House nor Senate is slated to consider legislation this week to keep the federal government funded.

The House will fire its opening salvo in the fight over defunding Planned Parenthood in the wake of controversial undercover videos regarding the organization’s use of fetal tissue. 

Many conservatives want to use a government funding bill as leverage for defunding Planned Parenthood. But other Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellElection Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout Sanders: Democrats ‘absolutely’ have chance to win back rural America  Trump privately ready to blame Ryan and McConnell if Republicans lose midterms: report MORE (R-Ky.), have said doing so would risk another government shutdown, because Democrats and President Obama would never accept it.


The House will vote on Rep. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackHow the Trump tax law passed: The final stretch Trump’s endorsements cement power but come with risks The Hill's Morning Report — Trump optimistic about GOP’s midterm prospects as Republicans fret MORE’s (R-Tenn.) bill to freeze federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year while Congress conducts an investigation into the organization’s activities.

A second bill slated for a House vote would add criminal penalties for violations of the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which offers legal protections to infants born alive after a failed abortion attempt. 

Congress has a limited amount of time left to pass legislation to avert a shutdown on Oct. 1, particularly with both chambers out of session for Jewish holidays this month.

The House will not return for votes until Wednesday evening on noncontroversial bills, while the Senate will be out of session on Monday. Both chambers will also be out for most of the week Pope Francis is in Washington. The last week of September leaves Congress with just three working days before the shutdown deadline.


McConnell is preparing to try again on legislation to stop the Iran nuclear deal, even after Democrats blocked a resolution of disapproval last week.

At the time, McConnell suggested that Democrats were trying to protect President Obama, saying, "It's telling that Democrats would go to such extreme lengths to prevent President Obama from even having to consider legislation on this issue."

The Kentucky Republican will need to flip two Democrats who previously voted "no" on ending debate to get the 60 votes he needs to move forward with the resolution. 

But Democrats are pledging to hold firm, with Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFive takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Major overhauls needed to ensure a violent revolution remains fictional Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees MORE (D-Nev.) telling reporters that it would be "dumb" for senators to switch their votes. 

"It is time we move on to something else. This matter is over," he said. "You can continue to relitigate it, but it's going to have the same result." 

The Senate is expected to restart debate of the Iran nuclear deal at 1 p.m. Tuesday, with a procedural vote on a resolution of disapproval expected at 6 p.m.

Frivolous lawsuits

Aside from the Planned Parenthood measures, the House will consider legislation that would require judges to impose monetary sanctions against lawyers who file baseless lawsuits.

The bill, authored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), would require that victims of such lawsuits receive compensation for any injury from the litigation.