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  • Washington Highlights

    Senate Approves FY 2018 Budget Resolution

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    The Senate Oct. 19 voted to amend and approve the House FY 2018 budget resolution (H Con Res 71), stripping the budget blueprint of reconciliation instructions in the House-passed bill to achieve $203 billion in mandatory savings [see Washington Highlights, July 21]. Instead, the final budget, which the Senate adopted by a vote of 51-49, more closely resembles a Senate proposal that allows Congress to advance tax cuts that could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years.

    Amending the House-passed resolution allows lawmakers to avoid a conference committee. If the House votes to approve the Senate-amended version of the budget framework, the House Ways and Means Committee will receive instructions to report out a tax bill by a non-binding deadline of Nov. 13. Under the Senate-passed measure, the Ways and Means tax bill will bypass consideration by the House Budget Committee and proceed straight to the House floor.

    During the Senate debate, several senators offered unsuccessful amendments to add funding to Medicaid and Medicare, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and reduce discretionary spending, among others.

    The final budget package includes a non-binding reserve fund that would allow Congress to craft a funding deal to raise the caps on discretionary spending, currently set in the Budget Control Act. Reports suggest that congressional leaders from both parties have begun negotiations with the White House on a potential deal to address the discretionary spending caps.