This Week on the Hill: House CR Vote Due Tomorrow in Bid to Avoid Shutdown

Lawmakers returning from legislative retreats and Super Bowl parties will need to re-focus quickly with another government funding deadline looming on Thursday. A continuing resolution (CR) punting the deadline another few weeks is once again the expected solution, with the House currently planning to vote tomorrow on a stopgap patch that would keep the government running through Mar. 22 — beyond key deadlines on the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program (Mar. 5) and debt ceiling (mid-March). Some conservatives have balked at the repeated use of CRs to maintain government operations, but Republican leaders are banking on their votes to approve tomorrow’s bill given that House Democrats will likely continue their opposition over a lack of a deal to protect individuals covered by DACA.

The government funding drama will be exacerbated by the House Democrats’ planned retreat to Cambridge, Maryland starting on Wednesday. Assuming all goes well in passing a CR, the House will be likely to wrap up its legislative week on Tuesday. In addition to a government funding measure, the House is also planning to consider a pair of regulatory relief bills (H.R. 4771; H.R. 1153) from the House Financial Services Committee as well as a bill (H.R. 772) that would revise food safety disclosure requirements at restaurants. Nine bills are on the House’s suspension docket today, primarily dealing with the establishment and naming of national parks.

The bill is expected to have a smoother route in the Senate given last month’s agreement between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the chamber’s Democrats to bring up an immigration bill after Feb. 8 assuming that the government remains open. Lawmakers in the upper chamber will start the week with a confirmation vote today for Andrei Iancu to lead the Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).