House Fits In Abortion Bill, Even With Short Schedule

Philadephia retreat will help set agenda for GOP

New Jersey Rep. Christopher H. Smith, right, will get a vote on his legislation banning the use of federal funds for abortions. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a short week for Congress in Washington, with Republicans in both the House and Senate heading out Wednesday for a retreat in Philadelphia, where they will strategize with the new administration about the year’s legislative agenda. Before leaving, though, they’ll wade into abortion politics with legislation in the House — just in time for Friday’s annual March for Life.

Before that, though, the House kicks off its abbreviated week at the Capitol on Monday with its usual 6:30 p.m. vote on a number of suspension measures, which require a two-thirds majority for passage.

The 11 bills on Monday’s agenda are under the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction and cover topics ranging from civilian research of nuclear energy technologies to transparency at the Federal Communications Commission.

On Tuesday, the House will vote on three additional suspension measures, two from the Foreign Relations Committee and one from the Science, Space and Technology Committee.

One of the bills would “update foreign policy” governing the internet and promote internet access in developing countries.

The only non-suspension bill the House will vote on next week is the so-called No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017.

Per its name, the legislation by New Jersey GOP Rep. Christopher H. Smith would prohibit federal funds, including those provided to the District of Columbia, from being used for abortions or for health benefits that cover abortions.

The House has voted on a version of the bill in prior years as part of Republicans’ sustained targeting of Planned Parenthood. The vote on the bill is expected Tuesday. No votes are expected Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

In committee action, the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the impacts of the 2010 health care law; the Intelligence Committee will hold a closed hearing on ongoing intelligence activities.

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