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POLITICS: PennAve

House Republicans' summer agenda is missing one pretty big issue

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,PennAve

The possibility of the House taking up immigration reform this year shrunk considerably Friday when GOP leaders issued a summer agenda that excluded any mention of it.

The House will return to work on Monday and will begin to tackle a range of issues from reviving expired tax cuts and debating energy reform, to voting on legislation to privatize veterans health care.

The House will also continue to tackle spending bills for the coming fiscal year.

But despite threats from Democrats about looming executive on illegal immigration, there are no plans to debate reform in June, according to a memo released by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

“As we return for our summer stretch into the swampy heat of Washington, D.C., we will continue to work on our agenda to ensure that every American has the opportunity to pursue happiness by building an America that Works,” Cantor said.

Just seven work weeks are scheduled before the House adjourns for the August recess and the 2014 campaign season is in full swing.

In May, Democratic Senate leaders warned House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to bring legislation to the floor “before the August break,” or else President Obama would begin taking executive action on immigration issues.

“Here is the bottom line,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at the time. “They have about a six-week window, from June 10 after the last Republican primary till the August recess. If they don't pass immigration reform then, the president will have no choice but to act on his own.”

It’s still possible Republicans could act on immigration in July, but if they did, it would likely include separate that tackle border security or visa reform, not anything dealing with the 11 million illegals here already.

Democrats have warned they would not accept “minor fixes.”

The House June agenda also excludes major legislation to repeal and replace the new health care law, which Republicans have proclaimed to be a priority.

Instead, Cantor said House committees will hold hearings on Obamacare’s problems while GOP lawmakers “refine” legislative options to fix the system.

“We will be discussing these policy options with you in the weeks ahead in anticipation of additional floor action,” Cantor said.

With health care and immigration reform sidelined, the House will take up legislation to privatize care for veterans, likely for those who are unable to see doctors within 30 days in the VA medical system, “in the very near future,” Cantor said.

The House will also begin considering legislation to revive a handful of business tax cuts that expired at the end of 2013, including one that would allow small businesses to expense new equipment and another that would make it easier for businesses to make charitable gifts.

The House will also consider:

• A jobs training bill that would streamline federal programs and provide more input from state and local workforce development boards.

• A package of energy bills that would “build infrastructure,” to move energy supplies across North America and to make it easier to export the nation’s supply of liquid national gas.

• A group of fiscal 2015 spending bills dealing with transportation, agriculture and defense.

• Legislation to reform the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to improve operations, add safeguards, and “provide meaningful relief from overly-burdensome requirements…at a time when we need less government involvement in our businesses.”

• A proposal to replenish depleted funds needed for federal highway construction and maintenance with savings from reducing, but not eliminating, Saturday deliveries from the U.S. Postal Service.

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Author:

Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner