To begin the New Year, the House came back into session and focused on passing the Senate Reconciliation bill. Last Wednesday, the chamber passed the legislation that would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defund Planned Parenthood for one year, sending it to the President Barack Obama's desk. The bill passed by a vote of 240-181. The legislation repeals many of the core tenets of the ACA, including the individual mandate and employer mandate. Obama previously indicated he would veto the bill.
Speaker Paul Ryan has pledged to replace the ACA and has asked his committee chairmen to work on crafting a single plan from the dozen of replacement bills put forward in the House. No timetable has been set on when the plan will be released, but expect it to come out before the 2016 Presidential elections.
This week, Congress welcomes Obama as he makes his annual State of the address to both chambers on Tuesday. For legislative purposes, the House will consider two bills that provide a more robust response to the threats from both North Korea and Iran that came within the past week. The Senate will be entering session for the first time this year this week.