With just the House in session last week, Congress conducted limited business. The most significant action was the House passage of a reconciliation bill that had been carried over from last year. The reconciliation bill (HR 3762) used the fast-track legislative authority to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defund Planned Parenthood. The legislation had originally come from the House and was last taken up by the Senate before their December break. It was approved on Wednesday, January 6 by a vote of 241 to 181 with near unanimous partisan divisions. One Democrat, Congressman Colin Peterson (D-MN) voted for the repeal bill and three Republicans, Congressman Robert Dold (R-IL), Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Congressman John Katko (R-NY) joined all the remaining Democrats to vote against the bill. The President vetoed the measure without fanfare on Friday. All the actions were fully expected as the parties take the first pre-presidential election actions of the campaign year.
The Senate is back this week but much of this month will be a mix of legislative action, time off during the Martin Luther King weekend, the house caucus retreats and the various responses to the Presidential State of the Union address.
It is hoped that the Senate Finance Committee will be able to take up the Families First Act by the end of the month pending further discussion and negotiations.