Weekly Washington Outlook — December 15, 2014

Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons
Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

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The House has adjourned for the 113th Congress.

Senate:

After working most of the weekend to pass the “CRomnibus“, the Senate will convene this afternoon to take three procedural votes on a number of executive nominations, including Vivek Murthy to be surgeon general.  After these are confirmed later this week, the Senate will move on to process Sarah Saldana to head the Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agency, and a number of others. Later in the week, the Senate Leadership plans to bring up a one-year retroactive extension of expired tax provisions and a reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.

White House:

On Monday, the president will travel to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to deliver remarks expressing his gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our troops and their families. Further details about the president’s travel to New Jersey will be made available in the coming days.

On Tuesday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

On Wednesday, the president will host two Hanukkah receptions at the White House. The first lady will also attend.

On Thursday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

On Friday, the first family will depart the White House en route Honolulu.

Also this Week:

Immigration – Over the weekend, Senators Cruz (R-Texas) and Lee (R-Utah) raised a point of order during consideration of the “CRomnibus” to force a vote on blocking the president’s executive actions on immigration. This vote failed overwhelmingly 22-74, in part because a vote in favor would have led to a government shutdown. With the weekend’s fiscal drama behind it, the Senate will vote this week to confirm Sarah Saldana to head ICE. She has committed to enforce the President’s executive actions on immigration and new enforcement priorities.

Tax – The Senate may vote this week on a House-backed tax extenders bill to renew a number of expired credits for one year. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has said he does not expect the bill to be amended. House and Senate negotiators, before settling on the one-year option, had tried for several weeks to craft a package that would make certain tax provisions permanent and extend others for two-years.