This week: House GOP chooses new leadership

For the second time in less than a year, House Republicans will select a new leadership hierarchy this week.

Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersTrump 'baby blimp' flies in Washington state for Pence visit The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — FBI widens scope of Kavanaugh investigation | Nightmare vote for red-state Dems | Five weeks to midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam MORE (R-Wash.), chairwoman of the House GOP conference, has indicated that closed-door elections will be held at noon Thursday for Speaker and “any other vacancies that may occur.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is the front-runner to win his party’s nomination to succeed retiring John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerHouston Chronicle endorses Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger MORE (R-Ohio) as Speaker. He faces long-shot challenges from House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzFox News contributor mocks Elizabeth Warren with photo at Disneyland Eric Trump blasts professor at alma mater Georgetown: ‘A terrible representative for our school’ Matt Schlapp: Trump's policies on Russia 'two or three times tougher than anything' under Obama MORE (R-Utah) and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.).

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Republicans will only have to vote for a new majority leader if McCarthy wins the Speaker race. And a whip race would occur if House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is chosen to replace McCarthy as leader over Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.).

Thursday’s election will be the easy part for McCarthy if he wins the nomination. The full House must vote to elect a new Speaker, which requires 218 votes. That floor vote isn’t expected until the end of October, around the time BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerHouston Chronicle endorses Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger MORE steps down from Congress.

House GOP leaders also plan to host a “listening session” on Tuesday to discuss possible conference rule changes, such as requiring anyone running for a new leadership post to resign their current slot. Possible votes on changing rules could come Wednesday. 

The process may feel familiar to House Republicans, who voted to select a new majority leader last June after Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorTrump gives Dave Brat his 'total endorsement' Former TV journalist gives GOP rare dose of hope in Florida Dave Brat trailing in reelection bid MORE (R-Va.) lost his primary election to Rep. Dave Brat.

Defense bill 

The Senate is turning to an annual defense bill this week despite a looming veto threat. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats slide in battle for Senate McConnell and wife confronted by customers at restaurant Pelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care MORE (R-Ky.) teed up a procedural vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Tuesday after the House-Senate conference committee released its final proposal last week. 

Democrats have vowed to block any spending bills, and the Republican leader told reporters that he hopes "we're not going to see this stunt" on the defense bill. 

While the NDAA doesn't appropriate any money, Democrats oppose it because of an extra $38 billion included in war funding. 

Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Trump asks Turkey for evidence on missing journalist | Key Dem calls for international probe | Five things to know about 'MBS' | Air Force struggles to determine cost of hurricane damage to F-22 jets Trump administration doesn't have ambassadors in Saudi Arabia or Turkey Top Armed Services Dem calls for international probe into missing Saudi journalist MORE (D-R.I.), the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, called the additional money a "gimmick" meant to let the Defense Department leapfrog over congressionally-mandated spending caps. 

But it's unclear if Senate Democrats will try to filibuster the bill. The Senate's version of the NDAA passed earlier this year by a 71-25 vote, meaning they would need to flip more than a dozen Democrats to oppose the bill.

A Senate aide suggested that the bigger focus was on keeping the legislation from getting 67 votes — the amount needed to override a potential veto. 

Obama has pledged to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

While the president has threatened to veto the legislation every year, he's never sent the bill back to Congress. If he does, it will be the fifth veto he's used during his time in office.

Senators aren’t expected to take a procedural vote on the NDAA until Tuesday. The Senate will convene at 4 p.m. Monday, with a vote on Dale Drozd's nomination to be a U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of California expected at 5:30 p.m.

Crude oil export ban

The House will vote Friday on legislation to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports from the United States. 

Republicans argue repealing the ban would benefit the economy and national security, while Democrats warn it could interfere with energy prices. 

President Obama will likely threaten to veto the bill. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said earlier this month that the administration supports the current export restrictions.

Lawmakers will also consider a bill authored by Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungAlaska lawmakers must get serious about Jones Act repeal How the Trump tax law passed: GOP adds sweeteners Election handicapper moves 10 races toward Dems MORE (R-Alaska) on Thursday to streamline the process for obtaining appraisals and permits on Native American and Alaska Native lands. 

 Scott Wong and Timothy Cama contributed.