On Capitol Hill, snow cancels House votes on ObamaCare, Iran sanctions

The winter storm that has buried Washington under record-breaking snow has forced Congress to change plans, including the cancellation of key House votes on ObamaCare and Iran sanctions.

The announcement was made Sunday by California GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy, whose duties as House majority leader is to set the chamber’s voting schedule.

As the storm approached late last week, McCarthy cancelled scheduled votes for Monday. But he has now told chamber members not to "expect" votes on Tuesday and Wednesday “due to the severity of the winter storm."

He also said the next scheduled vote is for the night of Feb. 1.

The Senate is still scheduled to return to work Tuesday morning. However, the confirmation vote for John Vazquez to be federal judge in New Jersey has been postponed until Wednesday night.

Roughly 22 inches of snow landed in downtown Washington, according to an unofficial National Weather Service report Sunday.

The walkways that connect the Rotunda and the office buildings on the Capitol grounds are essentially clear, but Washington’s transit system remains closed.

And flights to the surrounding airports are still cancelled, which means many members of Congress cannot return to Capitol Hill until later this week.

The storm and McCarthy’s announcement likely means the House will hold no votes this week because chamber Democrats are holding a retreat in Baltimore on Thursday and Friday, when President Obama is slated to speak.

The House was scheduled to take a re-vote this week on a bill to impose sanctions on Iran. Two weeks ago, the GOP-controlled House briefly passed the bill. But the House then moved to nullify the vote because 137 members missed the roll call.

The House was also scheduled to attempt an override of President Obama's veto of the special budget reconciliation measure that would repealed ObamaCare and defunded Planned Parenthood.

Successful veto overrides require a two-thirds vote in both chambers. That equals roughly 280 to 290 yeas in the House, depending on how many members cast ballots.

The chamber appears nowhere close to that number, but GOP leadership said it will nevertheless forge ahead with the vote.