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POLITICS: PennAve

Amid private immigration talks this week, House to vote on jobs and energy bills

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After passing comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate, Democrats this week will pressure House Republicans to do the same despite the GOP’s intention to move on to other issues, including energy and jobs.

House Republicans won’t completely ignore immigration reform. They will dedicate a private, mid-week meeting to determining how they should proceed. Conservatives are insisting that any House bill requires that the border be secured before the 11 million people now living in the U.S. illegally can be considered for citizenship.

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, on Sunday warned the House against taking up a comprehensive bill similar to the Senate’s, which he said puts legalization ahead of border security. Labrador walked away from a bipartisan group that is still drafting a Senate-like comprehensive plan for the House, saying the GOP could lose significant support from its base by choosing the same path as the Senate.

“I think the American people are not going to stand for that,” Labrador said on “Meet the Press.”

Key House lawmakers are considering a series of narrower immigration reform measures that would individually address issues like border security, an agricultural worker program and visa expansion.

Nominations

The Senate will likely turn its attention this week to a list of presidential nominations, with three key executive positions awaiting approval: Richard Cordray, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez; and Gina McCarthy, who President Obama tapped to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Many Republicans oppose the trio of nominees and could move to filibuster against them, further delaying confirmation.

The threat of GOP filibusters has Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., threatening to change Senate rules so that confirmation requires only a simple majority for judicial and executive branch nominees, rather than the current 60-vote threshold.

Advancing another nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will consider James B. Comey Jr., tapped by President Obama to be director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Energy legislation

House Republicans will dedicate the three-day legislative week to passing energy legislation and bills intended to increase jobs and improve the nation’s economic outlook by reducing government regulation.

The House this week also will vote on the Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, which would streamline the way companies obtain mining permits from federal, local and state governments.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., the mining bill’s sponsor, said it’s needed to eliminate decade-long permit delays and red-tape encountered by the nation’s mining companies.

A similar bill easily passed the last Congress, but Senate Democrats never took it up. Some environmental groups oppose the bill, arguing it would damage the environment on publicly owned lands and make it more difficult to review permit applications.

The House also plans to vote on a major spending bill that will fund fiscal 2014 energy and water projects.

Jobs and economy

The House will debate and vote on a bill to increase job opportunities for veterans as well as legislation that would amend the Sarbanes-Oxley Act eliminating the mandatory rotation for audit firms that critics say amounts to “unnecessary compliance costs” that will hurt job creation.

The House will also consider a bill that would require the Financial Stability Oversight Committee to examine whether the United States will be at a competitive disadvantage with Europe and other countries if it implements a new credit valuation adjustment capital requirement created under the Wall Street reform law.

Europe is exempted from the regulation, and Republicans say it could give other countries a significant advantage over American financial institutions.

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