The House is out next week, so GOP leaders are going to make this week a doozy.
There are four live issues that we’re watching as the House comes back into session tonight. Let’s run them down.
Israel: The House Republican leadership has no plans as of now to try to pass an Israel aid bill this week. Remember that just last week, the $17.6 billion bill failed under suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority for passage. Lawmakers from both parties opposed the legislation — although Democrats voted no in much higher numbers.
The GOP leadership has considered putting the bill through the Rules Committee to give it a pathway to pass with a simple majority. But top Republicans abandoned this plan because they don’t think they can get the bill through Rules.
The Mayorkas impeachment: In one of the biggest belly flops of this Congress, Speaker Mike Johnson’s House failed to pass a resolution impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week. Incredibly, House Republican leaders blamed the failed vote on Democrats after Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) showed up in hospital scrubs following emergency surgery. But House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said he is under no obligation to tell Johnson how many of his colleagues are showing up any given day — and Jeffries is right.
Johnson’s leadership team plans to bring the Mayorkas impeachment resolution up for a vote tonight. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who has been away from Washington for the last eight weeks getting stem-cell treatment for cancer, will return, theoretically giving GOP leaders the victory they want. We’ll see if there are any other attendance issues due to weather or other circumstances that will make Johnson’s team reschedule the vote.
SALT: New York Republicans, some of the most “walked-all-over” members of the House Republican Conference, just saw a tax bill get through the chamber without as much as a whisper about the state-and-local-tax-deduction limit that they have been complaining about for years.
In exchange, these NY GOPers have proposed a bill to double the deduction limit for married couples.
But guess what? This rule is likely to fail on the floor. Womp, womp. That will be the end of that push, which wasn’t much of a push at all.
FISA: The House Republican leadership has a new FISA Section 702 overhaul bill that they’ve been working on behind the scenes. Here’s the bill for your reference. It puts new restrictions on the FBI and has a number of other provisions to overhaul surveillance procedures for U.S. intelligence agencies.
The House Rules Committee noticed that it would hold a meeting on Wednesday to prepare the FISA bill for the floor. That means that the legislation can’t feasibly come to the floor until Thursday at the earliest.
The House Freedom Caucus will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. today to discuss their views on the legislation. Sources tell us that the HFC wants to amend the bill and there could be between five and 12 proposed amendments.
So color us skeptical that the Republican leadership will be able to get this through the House this week. FISA is a terribly complicated issue that divides the House Republican Conference and the House overall. Perhaps we’re overly bearish here. But this leadership has not shown us anything that would lead us to believe that they can handle an issue so weighty over a four-day period.
— Jake Sherman and Mica Soellner