Senate Passes FY18 Budget Resolution

The Senate passed a fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution that sets up consideration of tax reform under the fast-track process known as reconciliation. Under the resolution’s reconciliation instructions, Republicans would need just fifty votes to pass $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade. The legislation calls for the Senate Finance Committee to report a tax bill by November 13. It also outlines the GOP’s budgetary priorities, initially maintaining spending at 2017 levels, followed by cuts to nondefense spending totaling $106 billion by 2027. It proposes a $473 billion reduction to Medicare’s baseline spending and a $1 trillion cut to the Medicaid program over the next decade. Out of five health amendments offered, only one passed. The amendment, offered by Senator Hatch, seeks to protect Medicaid and Medicare and was passed 89-9. The budget passed by a vote of 51-49 after hours of amendment debate. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined Democrats in opposing the bill. He was opposed to the budget exceeding federal spending caps. The President will join Senate Republicans at their weekly policy lunch on Tuesday to discuss plans going forward for overhaul of the tax code.

Tiberi Announces Resignation from Congress

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) has announced his resignation from Congress. He has not yet decided upon an exact departure date, but he will be leaving his position as an elected official before January 31, 2018. He has been chosen to serve as the president of the Ohio Business Roundtable. Rep. Tiberi chairs the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. He is the latest in a series of resignations by mainstream Republicans, signaling their dissatisfaction with the GOP’s failure to achieve any major legislative victory.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee hearing “Examining HHS’s Public Health Preparedness for and Response to the 2017 Hurricane Season;” 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; October 24

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on draft legislation to establish a permanent Veterans Choice Program; draft legislation to modify VA’s authority to enter into agreements with State homes to provide nursing home care to veterans, to direct the Secretary to carry out a program to increase the number of graduate medical education residency positions, and for other purposes; the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) legislative proposal, the Veteran Coordinated Access and Rewarding Experiences (CARE) Act; H.R. 1133; H.R. 2123; H.R. 2601; and, H.R. 3642; 10:00 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; October 24

House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing “The Role of Facilities and Administrative Costs in Supporting NIH-Funded Research;” 10:00 a.m., 2358-C Rayburn Bldg.; October 24

House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations and Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules joint hearing titled “Regulatory Reform Task Forces Check-In;” 10:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; October 24

House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing “Down Syndrome: Update on the State of the Science and Potential for Discoveries Across Other Major Diseases;” 10:00 a.m., 2358-C Rayburn Bldg.; October 25

House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing “Federal Efforts to Combat the Opioid Crisis: A Status Update on CARA and Other Initiatives;” 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; October 25

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 -  2018