How Will Senate Procedures Affect Health Care and Tax Legislation? in Economics and Finance, Tax

With Congress back in session this week, health policy watchers are eyeing the United States Senate to see what happens next on legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”). Following House passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), I sat down with BPC Senior Vice President Bill Hoagland to discuss Congress’s use of budget reconciliation procedures and what it could mean for top Republican priorities this year, such as health care and tax legislation.

Tune in to our podcast discussion for more:

Part One offers a brief refresher of where we are in the congressional budget process – with Congress adopting a fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget resolution early this year, more than nine months past the deadline; and action on the FY 2018 budget resolution still pending prior to the start of the next fiscal year in less than four months from now. Bill also describes the unique process of budget reconciliation legislation including the “Byrd Rule” which dictates what kinds of provisions are allowable in reconciliation bills.

Part Two answers several frequently asked questions, including Bill’s take on:

  • Next steps for the U.S. Senate on the AHCA, which passed on a narrow party-line vote in the House of Representatives last month;
  • How budget committee leaders work with the Senate Parliamentarian to determine which provisions comply with budget reconciliation rules, including the Byrd Rule;
  • The role of Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) cost and savings estimates, and whether these official CBO and JCT scores are necessary for Senate passage of reconciliation bills;
  • The potential for challenges to the Senate Parliamentarian’s rulings on compliance of legislative provisions with budget reconciliation rules, including the Byrd Rule;
  • The timeline for consideration of reconciliation legislation, for example, at what point a congressional budget resolution’s “reconciliation instructions” would be turned off, or be no longer applicable;
  • Whether annual appropriations bills can move forward in absence of a congressional budget, which establishes the topline spending figures for appropriations committees.