Congress this week: Republicans call the Democrats' bluff


The House needs to take care of several issues this week before adjourning on Friday for the two-week Easter recess, beginning today with a temporary spending measure to fund highway construction for three months beyond the March 31 deadline. The House is also expected to swiftly approval final passage of the JOBS Act and send it back to the Senate for their concluding action, then it’s off to the White House for the president’s signature.

Debate on the House floor this week will feature Republican budget measures from the leadership and the conservative Republican Study Committee on Wednesday, with a vote expected on Thursday.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Republicans called the Democrats’ bluff on a bill to repeal “big oil tax subsidies” by voting in favor of a procedural motion Monday night to allow debate to move forward to the floor where it has now bumped a bipartisan measure to rescue the Postal Service.

Democrats hoped that Republicans would kill the oil bill on the procedural vote so they could create an election year issue and tag the GOP as supporters of “big oil.” By voting in favor of the public debate 92-4, Republicans say they will expose shortcomings in Democrat energy policies and highlight the splits in the president’s party.

Hearings this week include the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will look Wednesday at U.S. policy on Iran, and the Senate Natural Resources Committee will examine gasoline price trends during a Thursday meeting.