House leaders say they might consider immigration reform in July. Maybe they will. But if not, there’s a host of other issues the lower chamber could tackle.
After a halting start to a summer that opened with the farm bill’s collapse on the floor, House Republicans will meet on Wednesday to sketch a way forward for the month – the last lengthy working session before fiscal issues come back to dominate the agenda in the fall.
GOP leaders had signaled that if they were to grapple with immigration at all, it would be in July, and it wouldn’t look anything like the Senate package. The bitty measures that Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte has been marking up are becoming the de facto House Republican approach to immigration.
And just to underscore the lack of enthusiasm, House Speaker John Boehner has clearly said he will have nothing to say about reform. “The worst thing in the world that can happen is for me to take some specific provision and declare my support or my opposition to it,” Boehner told reporters recently. “All that's going to do is slow down the progress.”
So, while the House figures out whether to do immigration reform at all, here’s a look at what could come take up some of their time before the next break begins in August.
*Check Please The Government’s Appropriations bills, the legislative equivalent of the government writing a check, are certain to come to the floor. Next week, the Energy and Water appropriations bill, which sets aside $30.4 billion, nearly $3 billion below the 2013 level and $700 million below the level caused by sequestration, heads to the House Rules Committee on Monday. From there it is expected to move to the floor, where it would be the third of twelve appropriations bills to advance. Even though the committee and the House are moving the funding measures, the process in recent years has stalled after that point. The current continuing resolution funding the government expires on Sept. 30, setting up another partisan battle over spending levels.
*Legislation You Can Dig The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act is not only a mouthful, but also a committee-reported bill that appeals to conservatives for two reasons. One, it purports to streamline government by directing the Bureau of Land Management to make the process of getting permits to extract minerals from federal property easier, and two the Congressional Budget Office says any costs associated with it will be minimal. The House Rules Committee will take up the legislation on Tuesday. The bill could hit the floor next week.
*No Child Left Behind—Left Behind? Rep. Jon Kline, R-Minn., reported a bill out of the Education and Workforce Committee last month called the Student Success Act, which would cut dozens of programs and effectively end the administration’s waiver program for states. Republicans cast the bill, which would gut No Child Left Behind, as a necessary step because the Bush administration’s signature education program has proven unpopular and unwieldy with constituents, Kline has said. It’s not clear yet if the bill will head to the floor next week, but the measure could offer the conference a chance to say it accomplished something and is technically ready for floor action, says a former Republican leadership aide.