CHN: House and Senate Pass FY17 Budget Resolution

In the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 12, the Senate passed (51-48) a shell of an FY17 budget resolution whose only purpose is to lay the groundwork for repealing the Affordable Care Act. Only a simple majority was needed to pass in the Senate. The House followed, passing (227-198) the same budget plan (S. Con. Res 3) on Friday, Jan. 13. The resolution is a plan through which Congress sets certain spending/taxation rules for itself; it does not go to the President for his signature and does not become law.

The Senate passage came after a seven-hour voting session known as a vote-a-rama, in which Senators can offer an unlimited number of amendments and votes occur in rapid succession. Roughly 20 amendments were voted on throughout Wednesday night, in this case without any resulting change to the underlying resolution.

Two amendments that were offered before the vote-a-rama were of interest to advocates. One amendment offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would “prevent the Senate from breaking Donald Trump’s promise that there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.” The amendment failed on a procedural vote (49-49; 60 votes needed). All Democrats and Independents plus Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) voted for Sen. Sanders’ amendment. A similar amendment offered by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) to protect Medicare and Medicaid from cuts also failed to pass a procedural vote (49-47, with 60 votes needed), with two Republicans, Sens. Collins and Heller (R-NV) joining Democrats and Independents in favor. According to CQ, Senate Budget Chairman Michael Enzi (R-WY) said the Hirono amendment would “destroy our efforts to repeal Obamacare.”

For more information on the GOP’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, see the related article in this Human Needs Report.

Affordable Care Act
Budget and Appropriations