The House today considers the next Continuing Resolution, known in Congress-ese as a "CR." This is the temporary spending bill that will fund the government until 11:59:59pm April 8. If this bill is approved, adopted by the Senate and signed into law by the president, the government would next run out of money on April 9 at 12:00:01 am.
The current bill expires this Friday at 11:59:59 pm.
Here's what happens Tuesday:
During the noon hour, the House will begin debate on the "rule" which establishes the blueprints for how the House will handle the actual CR when it comes to the floor. If you don't approve the rule, you can't call up the actual bill for debate.
At this point, it IS NOT accurate to say they are debating the CR itself. But they ARE considering the issue. This part of the debate is typically feisty.
The House will then go to a series of votes in the 1 pm hour. If they adopt the rule, the House can then start general debate on the actual CR itself.
That will probably run until about 3 pm or so. At that point, we expect a new series of votes. One of the votes in that vote sequence will be the final vote on this CR.
What to Watch For:
The House approved the current CR on March 1 by a vote of 335 to 91. 104 Democrats joined the majority Republicans with only six GOP defections. They included Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Steve King, R-Iowa, Ron Paul, R-Texas, Walter Jones, R-N.C., Justin Amash, R-Mich., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.
We expect there to be significant attrition on both sides. House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson, D-Conn., said he didn't think many Democrats would vote for it. There are a number of conservative Republican leaders, ranging from Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., to Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who are expected to vote against Tuesday's measure. We could have as high as 24 to 30 Republicans vote no.
Why is that important? Current membership in the House is at 433 with two vacancies (the seats formerly held by Reps. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and Chris Lee, R-N.Y.). Of course, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., isn't here. That means the House only needs 217 to pass a bill, rather than the traditional 218.
Republicans currently have 241 members on their side of the aisle. So they could lose up to 24 GOPers without needing the Democrats to bail them out.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, declined to put himself "in that box" when asked earlier today if he thought the House could pass the bill without leaning on the Democrats for assistance.