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House, Senate Pass Budget Resolution in First Step Toward Repealing Obamacare

Legislative Activity

House and Senate Pass FY 2017 Budget Resolution to Set into Motion the Repeal of Obamacare

Last week, Congress passed a budget resolution (S Con Res 3) that will serve as a first step in paving the way for budget reconciliation and eventual repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), also known as “Obamacare.” The budget resolution is a non-binding spending blueprint, and because it is not an act of law, it does not require the President’s signature. See our previous post for details of the reconciliation process. Congressional Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), have labeled the resolution as a placeholder (simply to set into motion the repeal of Obamacare) and are promising that a “real budget” for Fiscal Year 2018 will be introduced, debated, and voted on in short order.

The Senate passed its budget resolution on January 12 by a vote of 51-48. Although amendments would not be binding, there were over 100 filed in advance of the Senate’s “vote-a-rama” last week.  However, only 19 votes were taken.  Of note, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) proposed an amendment that would put a freeze on budget spending beginning in Fiscal Year 2018, but the amendment failed by a 14-83 vote.  The amendment would have resulted in a budget cut of trillions of dollars and the U.S. deficit being fully eliminated in as soon as five years. Additionally, Senate Democrats offered several amendments that were either not voted on or failed to receive enough affirmative votes to pass. For example, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) offered an amendment, that ultimately failed, that would have prohibited cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, something President-elect Trump has pledged not to do.  Additionally, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) offered an amendment that contained the “Conrad Rule” which bars a reconciliation package that would allow the deficit to increase over a ten-year period; however, the amendment was never considered. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) also proposed an amendment that was never considered that would have forced points of order in the event that reconciliation legislation would worsen the financial solvency of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund.

Once the legislation reached the House chamber, the House Committee on Rules met and issued a “closed rule” prohibiting any amendments from being considered on the House floor. On January 13, the House passed S Con Res 3 by a vote of 227-198, with nine Republicans joining Democrats in voting against the measure.  While not included in the recently passed resolution, Speaker Ryan continues to promise that Republicans still plan to include measures that would ultimately defund Planned Parenthood as they move forward with repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 17

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About this Author

Public Policy Advisor

Pamela Welsh has over 10 years of experience representing municipal governments, universities and not-for-profit organizations in Washington, DC. She works closely with her clients to develop and implement federal legislative and regulatory agendas and provides counsel on the impact of administrative and congressional action on client interests. She also develops outreach and relationship building strategies, including the creation of coalitions as necessary to advance broad local government and university initiatives. 

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Meg Gilley, Public Policy Advisor, Squire Patton Boggs Law firm
Public Policy Advisor

Meg has substantial healthcare experience and comes to the firm from the American College of Surgeons (ACS), where she served as a Congressional Lobbyist. At ACS, she advocated on behalf of the nearly 80,000 Members of the College and worked closely with the Senate Committees on Finance and HELP, with an issue area focus on Medicare payment, health information technology, health insurance and hospital delivery systems. 

Meg also brings a strong state government affairs background through her work with the Georgia Hospital Association and Georgia Regents University and Health System. While living in Atlanta, she obtained a Master of Public Health and successfully defended her thesis on lessons Georgia could learn from successful state and local government strategies to reduce childhood obesity rates. 

Meg previously worked in the office of US Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) who joined Squire Patton Boggs in February 2015. In this role, she advised him on numerous healthcare issues, and was also the Congressman’s advisor in his role as Ranking Member on the Agriculture Subcommittee of Appropriations. In this position, she counseled him on matters related to food safety and inspection, FDA regulation, country of origin and food labeling, and food and nutrition programs.

A native of Savannah, GA, Meg holds a Master of Public Health from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Political Science from the University of Georgia.

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Mallory A. Richardson, Public Policy Specialist, Squire Patton Boggs, Law Firm
Public Policy Specialist

Mallory Richardson is a member of the firm’s Transportation, Infrastructure & Local Government and Public Policy Practices. Prior to becoming a public policy specialist, Mallory was selected through a competitive process to participate in the firm’s public policy internship program. In this position, Mallory assisted attorneys and senior policy professionals on legislative and regulatory research, hearing and event coverage, and produced reports focusing on issues including energy, transportation, education and local municipalities. In addition, she proactively...

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