Even though the House was out of session for all but two days last week, it proved to be one of the most eventful two days of the year in the U.S. House of Representatives — with Pope Francis in town to address a joint session of Congress Thursday and House Speaker John Boehner announcing his retirement Friday.
The impending vacancy of the Speakership has left the party scrambling to find a successor. Five term congressman and current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) seems to be the overwhelming favorite to win, and several Members are eyeing key leadership roles within the caucus further down the ballot. The Majority Leader position is shaping up to be highly contested as current Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), current Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, as well as Tom Price (R-GA) who has previously served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee and the Republican Policy Committee have all announced interest in the job.
Now that Boehner is no longer threatened by losing his Speakership as a consequence of moving a clean CR he has announced he will bring up the Senate CR for a House vote. With less than 72 hours away from the Sept. 30th deadline to fund the government or risk a repeat of the 2013 government shutdown, the vote is expected to take place Wednesday and should pass with moderate Republican and Democratic support, thus thwarting a shutdown.
This week the house will consider:
H.R. 3614: Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015. This bill extends current federal aviation administration (FAA) authorities, programs and excise taxes at existing levels for six months
H.R. 2061: the Equitable Access to Care and Health (EACH) Act. The bill expands the religious conscience exemption under Obamacare.
H.R. 1624: the Protecting Affordable Coverage of Employees Act. Beginning in January, under the Affordable Care Act, the definition of small employers will change from groups of up to 50 employees to include groups of up to 100 employees. This legislation would repeal this national standard and allow states the ability to set their own definitions if they so choose.
- Alabama co-sponsors: Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02), Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05)
H.R. 3495: the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act. The bill provides states increased flexibility to exclude Medicaid contracts to those medical providers who also perform abortions, thus permitting states to deny non-abortion health care reimbursements to organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
- Alabama co-sponsor: Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03)
For the balance of the week, several items are possible including: legislation that prohibits lifting Iran sanctions as part of the nuclear deal unless the country first pays the court-ordered damages owes to victims of Iranian-backed acts of terrorism; a House/Senate conference agreement on FY 2016 Defense Authorization.
The House is not in session Friday.