week ahead

Abortion Vote a Prelude to Senate's Shutdown Watch

Graham is the lead Senate sponsor of the 20-week abortion ban. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate will start its week debating abortion, but it's far from certain Tuesday's symbolic vote will diffuse the tension over Planned Parenthood funding enough to avert a government shutdown.  

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is following through on a promise made to social conservatives to line up a vote on a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, a measure that's spearheaded in the Senate by presidential candidate Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.  

Little Hope for Bipartisanship With Lynch, Budget Ahead

Lynch is expected to finally get her confirmation vote, but will likely see a narrow margin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The sour start to the new Senate's year appears likely to continue — with the unexpected partisan blowup over a human trafficking bill and its abortion provision seeming to end the last chance for a broad, bipartisan vote before the recess at the end of the month.  

That's assuming the partisan standoff over the inclusion of language restricting use of funds for abortions — the Hyde Amendment — an effort by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to limit debate on the bill, will come up short of the 60 needed votes on March 17.  

Senate Schedule Changed After Iran Vote Delay

The Senate schedule this week had a late change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the House out of town this week, the Senate will be the focal point on Capitol Hill, and there's no shortage of activity ahead.  

In a sign of how the Senate operates, the schedule has already changed. Senators left ahead of the March 5 snowstorm, following a noncontroversial nomination vote, anticipating the next item of legislative business would be a bid by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to turn to a bipartisan bill introduced by Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., designed to force the White House's hand into giving lawmakers a say in any potential nuclear deal with Iran.