Washington Weekly
Mar. 2, 2015

Last Week

On Friday, Congress faced a deadline to fund the Department of Homeland Security before midnight. In the House, Democrats wanted a clean long-term funding bill, while Republicans wanted to block President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, or force the Senate to go to conference on a measure that might do so. Neither side could get what it wanted, so they extended the fight for another week. The House also debated, but failed to complete legislation improving savings programs for families and students preparing for college.More

This Week

The House and Senate will have until Friday, March 6, to avoid another possible shutdown. The Senate is expected to take a procedural vote Monday on whether to go to conference on the long-term DHS bill, but with Democrats unwilling to provide the necessary votes to get to 60, House GOP leaders will be stuck exactly where they were last week.

The House is also scheduled to take up two bills addressing the EPA's scientific process, one of which would bar agency regulations without the public release of scientific data backing them. The Senate will vote on a resolution of disapproval regarding the National Labor Relations Board's plans to move forward on so-called "Ambush Elections," which ASA has long opposed. While DHS funding is set to take up the bulk of the week, the Senate is also scheduled to take up a veto override of the Keystone XL legislation, which requires 67 votes in order to succeed.

Also this week, Congress is set to receive Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as they consider further sanctions on Iran.More

Item of Interest

The third branch of government, the Supreme Court will once again take up a case that may determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act. In what is referred to as King v. Burwell, the case challenges the availability of tax subsidies for individuals who purchase their health insurance on a marketplace created by the federal government. Since 26 states to not have an "exchange" for individuals to purchase health insurance, challengers believe that they are not permitted to receive subsidies as is currently being interpreted by the IRS. To read a "plain English" description of this important case, click here.More

No Easy Fix if Supreme Court Halts 'Obamacare' Cash
The Obama administration says it has no contingency plan for the 7 million to 8 million people who would lose health subsidies if the Supreme Court were to invalidate a key provision of "Obamacare." On Wednesday, the high court will hear arguments in King v. Burwell, a case that will determine whether the health law's premium subsidies are legal in 34 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges and rely on HealthCare.gov to enroll their residents. More

DHS Funding Battle Reveals a Republican House Divided
Roll Call
Congress returns this week facing yet another Department of Homeland Security funding deadline — but the appropriations squabble has suddenly become overshadowed by an increasingly bitter internal fight among House Republicans for the soul of the party. House conservatives sank the GOP leadership's plan for a three-week continuing resolution for DHS while an appeals court rules on an injunction blocking the administration from implementing the president's executive action on immigration — but the victory was short-lived. More

Gauntlet Awaits Internet Rules
The Hill
Net neutrality supporters won a major victory this week when regulators issued the toughest Internet rules the country has ever seen, but their battle is still far from over. New Federal Communications Commission regulations are already coming under new scrutiny from Capitol Hill and are bound for a gauntlet of legal and legislative challenges assuring that the rules are anything but set in stone.More