Congress Creates Plan For Next Decade Of Federal Spending
With the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) dominating congressional news this week, one important tidbit might have slipped by – Congress passed a budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 3) that would increase the deficit by $9 trillion from Fiscal Years (FY) 2018-2026. While nonbinding (budget resolutions are not signed into law), the document broadly outlines spending and revenue for FY 2018-2026 and serves as a blueprint for the continuing FY 2017 appropriations process. Last week, the funding aspect of this process was largely overshadowed because the resolution, through a process called budget reconciliation, is being used as the ACA repeal vehicle. S. Con Res. 3 passed the Senate on Thursday with votes that largely fell along party lines (Senator Rand Paul (KY) was the lone Republican who crossed the aisle to vote against its passage). Surprisingly, no new amendments were added during the “vote-a-rama,” a rapid-fire voting marathon that can result in hundreds of amendments offered on a variety of issues (the 2015 vote-a-rama saw the passage of 40 amendments on issues ranging from a carbon tax to sick leave). The budget measure also passed the House along party lines, with all Democrats and nine Republicans voting against its passage. With this step of the federal funding process behind them, the 115th Congress will pick up where the 114th left off with FY 2017’s appropriations bills, as the current continuing resolution expires in April.