Legislative Activity

Budget Negotiations Continue Amidst Busy Congressional Calendar

Budget negotiations between staff for Republican leadership, the White House, and Democrats are ongoing, but there have been few signs of progress. Democrats have recently announced they will not accept changes to entitlements as part of a budget deal to increase government spending, increasing the likelihood the deal will be limited to one year rather than the two-year deal that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was originally hoping for. Republicans have reaffirmed that they will not accept tax hikes, so any revenue increases in the deal will likely be limited.

Adding to the difficulty of the negotiations are several important congressional deadlines in the near future. The Treasury Department revised its estimated timeline for reaching the debt ceiling, with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew telling congressional leadership it will be reached November 3. The current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the federal government runs out on December 11, and Congress will have to have a budget deal or pass another CR by then to keep the government open. Additionally, House Republicans have yet to elect a Speaker, further complicating the budget negotiations and debt ceiling increase. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said he will stay on as Speaker until a replacement is approved by the House

House to Consider Budget Reconciliation

On Friday, the House will consider the budget reconciliation package. The bill would repeal significant parts of Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood for one year.  The bill would repeal Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, the medical device tax, the Cadillac tax on premium insurance plans, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board.  Overall, the bill would reduce deficits by $78.9 billion over ten years, reducing revenue by $199.3 billion and spending by $278.2 billion. The reconciliation bill is not subject to filibuster, and will only need a simple majority vote in the Senate. This will be the first time Republicans send a bill to President Obama that overturns key aspects of Obamacare, and he will almost certainly veto it.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, October 21: The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing to review rural development in 21st century America.
  • Wednesday, October 21: The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled “Reforming the Federal Budget Process: The Need for Action.”