The House this week will vote on legislation that takes aim at President Obama's executive actions, while the Senate could make another attempt to pass a bill to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits.
Congress will also weigh in on Russia's move into Crimea. The House returns to session Tuesday with a vote on a resolution “condemning the violation of Ukraine sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity by military forces of the Russian Federation.”
The resolution is likely to get unanimous support, but for the rest of the week, House lawmakers will address nearly a dozen bills, many of them aimed at Obama administration policies that the GOP believes are harmful, and which Democrats will oppose.
While most Democrats are likely to reject the GOP legislation, they will have to take some politically difficult votes.
On Friday, the House will debate a measure that would provide a long-sought fix to the government's faulty Medicare reimbursement plan. But the money to pay for it would come from repealing the new health care law's individual mandate.
On Tuesday, House Republicans will bring legislation to the floor that would undo some of the health care law’s changes to the popular Medicare Part D program that have drawn complaints from seniors.
The Keep the Promise to Seniors Act of 2014 would block a recent rule put forward by the Obama administration that would eliminate up to half of Part D plans, which could impact up to 14 million seniors.
The House will also take up a bill to expand who can qualify for a religious exemption from the health care law’s individual mandate.
The House will also consider two bills that deal directly with the Republican view that the president is taking too much liberty with his executive authority on matters including the health care reform law and immigration enforcement.
One measure would expand the requirement for the United States Attorney General to report to Congress when the administration refrains from enforcing the law. A second measure would allow the House to bring “civil action” against the administration if it deems the executive branch is not enforcing the law.
The Senate is in session on Monday and will vote on the confirmation of Carolyn B. McHugh to be a United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit.
The Senate will also vote on final passage of a military sexual assault bill that would provide added protections for victims. The legislation does not go as far as a measure authored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that would have removed sex assault prosecutions from the military chain of command. Senators rejected that measure last week, saying it went to far in stripping power from military commanders.
Later in the week, the Senate could take up a measure to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits, which expired on Dec. 28.
Republicans and Democrats have offered competing measures. The GOP is offering a five-month extension of benefits, paying for the $10 billion price tag with a provision to ease pension contribution requirements for employers and by banning benefits for those already receiving government-sponsored disability checks. Democrats have proposed a six-month extension at a cost of $12 billion, offsetting the cost with savings achieved in the recently passed farm bill.