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House to Consider 20-Week Abortion Ban This Week

A new version of Rep. Trent Franks' abortion bill returns this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
A new version of Rep. Trent Franks' abortion bill returns this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are aiming to reconsider this week the so-called “pain capable” abortion bill, which would prohibit abortions, in most cases, after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  

The bill was pulled in late January after a number of Republican women pushed back against the legislation, particularly the provisions requiring women to have reported rape to law enforcement to be eligible for an abortion after 20 weeks. Leaders haven’t released the final language of the bill, but they seemingly have worked out the issues — though it wouldn’t exactly be the first time they’ve miscalculated where the conference is on the issue.  

House Republicans are also aiming to consider a controversial reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which will also reauthorize some sections of the Patriot Act expiring at the end of May. Most notably, the bill renews the contentious Section 215 dealing with, among other things, the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone metadata. A federal appeals court ruled earlier this week that the program was not authorized by the law.  

GOP leaders will be relying on Democrats to get the bill over the finish line — in fact, the bill is currently slated to go on suspension, meaning it will need a two-thirds majority — but, once again, there are a number of thorny issues lawmakers have to deal with in a week that’s already packed with complex debates.  

Among those tricky debates is the National Defense Authorization Act. Perennially, the defense authorization is one of the biggest must-pass pieces of legislation to make its way through Congress to the president’s desk, and this year, leaders will have to deal with a provision that would encourage the Pentagon to allow undocumented immigrants to serve in the military. Conservatives were lining up outside the Rules Committee  last week to submit amendments to strip that language. But that’s just one issue. Among the hundreds of amendments submitted to the Rules Committee, many will be made in order, chewing up plenty of floor time. In fact, it will eat up so much time that final passage on NDAA might not come this week.  

Regardless, the week will be a real test for GOP leaders as they try to navigate a week full of potential pitfalls.  


What the House GOP’s Abortion Bill About-Face Really Means

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