House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Congress Plans To Keep Government Open

A short-term spending measure would keep the government running until early December.

Con­gress re­turns to Wash­ing­ton on Monday with the threat of a gov­ern­ment shut­down loom­ing at the end of the week and the cam­paign to re­place John Boehner as House speak­er—and pos­sibly fill out the un­der­card—kick­ing in­to high gear.

The Sen­ate will vote Monday even­ing to ad­vance le­gis­la­tion that will fund the gov­ern­ment through Dec. 11, kick­ing the can on fed­er­al spend­ing in­to the winter and a Boehner-free Con­gress. The up­per cham­ber is ex­pec­ted to pass the le­gis­la­tion, which main­tains fund­ing for Planned Par­ent­hood over con­ser­vat­ive ob­jec­tions, as early as Tues­day, giv­ing the House just over 24 hours to send the fund­ing bill to Pres­id­ent Obama’s desk.

Boehner has said that he’ll do just that, in one of his fi­nal acts as speak­er, passing the clean fund­ing bill with the help of Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans still loy­al to their de­part­ing lead­er. Con­ser­vat­ives had vowed to hold a vote to take away Boehner’s gavel if he forced a vote on a clean bill, but with that point now moot, con­ser­vat­ives are shift­ing their fo­cus to the up­com­ing lead­er­ship elec­tions and their next op­por­tun­ity to de­fund Planned Par­ent­hood—an­oth­er spend­ing bill in Decem­ber. A few dozen con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers are still ex­pec­ted to op­pose the CR, but even mem­bers of the House Free­dom Caucus ad­mit there will not be enough votes to take down the bill and force a shut­down. “It’s not go­ing to hap­pen,” Rep. Matt Sal­mon said Fri­day.

The real ac­tion in the House will come in the form of phone calls and whip lists clutched to the chests of the next would-be speak­er and oth­er mem­bers look­ing for a seat at the new lead­er­ship table. Though the elec­tion for speak­er won’t oc­cur un­til late Oc­to­ber, sev­er­al mem­bers are already tak­ing a look at the race, and Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Kev­in Mc­Carthy, the clear front-run­ner for the job, could face com­pet­i­tion. A host of oth­er mem­bers are look­ing to move up if Mc­Carthy wins.

Here’s what else is on tap this week:

Health Care

The Sen­ate on Monday will vote on a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion that in­cludes Planned Par­ent­hood fund­ing. A spend­ing bill must make it through both cham­bers by mid­night on Wed­nes­day to keep the gov­ern­ment open. 

The House will con­sider a bill that amends the small-group-mar­ket rules of the Af­ford­able Care Act. The le­gis­la­tion cur­rently has 187 Re­pub­lic­an and 45 Demo­crat­ic co­spon­sors. 

The House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee will hold a hear­ing on Tues­day in­vest­ig­at­ing Planned Par­ent­hood. Cecile Richards, the pres­id­ent of the or­gan­iz­a­tion, will testi­fy. 

On Thursday, the Sen­ate Health, Edu­ca­tion, Labor, and Pen­sions Com­mit­tee will hold a hear­ing on health in­form­a­tion tech­no­logy. The Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee will hold a hear­ing, also on Thursday, on im­prop­er pay­ments in fed­er­al health pro­grams.

Energy and Environment

The House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee will take an­oth­er crack Wed­nes­day at passing a bi­par­tis­an en­ergy bill, which would touch on is­sues like elec­tri­city re­li­ab­il­ity, nat­ur­al-gas in­fra­struc­ture, and cy­ber­se­cur­ity. The bill was sup­posed to get a vote at a markup last week, but was pulled as both parties con­tin­ued to dis­agree about how to ad­dress is­sues such as cli­mate change and re­new­able en­ergy.

The Sen­ate En­vir­on­ment and Pub­lic Works Com­mit­tee on Tues­day will hear from En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency air chief Janet Mc­Cabe at a hear­ing on the eco­nom­ic im­pact of the up­com­ing rule on ground-level ozone and car­bon-pol­lu­tion stand­ards from power plants.

The House Sci­ence, Space, and Tech­no­logy Com­mit­tee will probe for an­swers on the search for life on oth­er plan­ets with a hear­ing on Tues­day that will con­vene one of NASA’s chief sci­ent­ists as well as ex­perts in as­tro­nomy, as­tro­phys­ics, and space.


The House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee’s sub­com­mit­tee on trade will hold a hear­ing Tues­day morn­ing to ex­am­ine the policy im­plic­a­tions of the so-called “shar­ing eco­nomy” ser­vices like Uber and Airb­nb. Re­pub­lic­ans tend to praise these “dis­rupt­ive” com­pan­ies for chal­len­ging old busi­ness mod­els, while some Demo­crats worry the com­pan­ies may be flout­ing work­place and con­sumer pro­tec­tions. 

White House

For the second week in a row, for­eign policy will dom­in­ate Pres­id­ent Obama’s sched­ule. After high-pro­file host­ing of for­eign lead­ers at the White House, he hits the road, go­ing to New York. There, on Monday, he will ad­dress the open­ing of the U.N. Gen­er­al As­sembly. Most of the fo­cus, though, will be on what hap­pens later Monday—his first one-on-one meet­ing with Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin in 15 months. The con­tinu­ing crisis in Ukraine and Rus­si­an policy in Syr­ia are on the agenda. Obama also will meet with In­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Nar­en­dra Modi and at­tend a U.N. sum­mit on peace­keep­ing, as well as a sum­mit Tues­day on in­ter­na­tion­al ef­forts to com­bat ter­ror­ism.