Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Congress Delays Plans for Reconciliation

Drew Thies

The July 24th deadline to present budget plans in Congress looks as if it will be pushed back in both chambers of Congress just days before legislators recess for the month of August.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Tuesday the date is, “not a hard and fast deadline,” but more of a guideline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated the chamber would consider reconciliation, but with a large workload for the next week and a half, it is unlikely the Senate will have enough procedural time.

The Senate Budget Resolution teed up July as a key time to pursue the arcane budget process called reconciliation to fast-track Republican priorities, namely the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. The budget “provides a tool for the Senate majority to repeal a failed policy of the past — Obamacare — so we can start over,” McConnell said earlier this year.

Republicans have indicated they will still attempt to use the reconciliation process to strip down the ACA and potentially make other entitlement changes, though any attempt to change the signature health care law would surely be vetoed by President Obama.

Reconciliation was originally designed to pass budgets but has not been used since 1993 for the purpose. The last reconciliation act was used in 2010 to amend the Affordable Care Act to enact Pell Grant changes.

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