Conservatives, Moderates Fight Over Budget Reconciliation Bill
House Republican leaders on Thursday cancelled a vote on their budget reconciliation bill -- now projected to cut about $51 billion over five years, some of which will come from Medicaid -- after a concession to moderates to abandon oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge failed to win enough votes for the bill's approval, the AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11/11). The bill would reduce Medicaid spending by about $9.5 billion over five years. The House Budget Committee on Nov. 3 approved the package, which was approved earlier by the House Energy and Commerce Committee (California Healthline, 11/10).
Despite the ANWR concession, moderate Republicans criticized the bill for "hitting the nation's most vulnerable citizens just as the party was preparing another round of tax cuts that would benefit the most affluent," the Washington Post reports (Weisman/Murray, Washington Post, 11/11). Reps. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), Michael Castle (R-Del.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) said they want some of the Medicaid cuts to be removed from the bill (CQ HealthBeat, 11/10). House leadership and Republican moderates on Thursday discussed Medicaid, focusing on provisions that would tighten restrictions on asset transfers and increase copayments (Cohn, CongressDaily, 11/10).
House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) at a press conference said it is "possible" that he will bring the reconciliation bill up for a vote next week. Blunt said, "We were not quite where we needed to be to go to the floor," adding that a "handful" of Republicans had issues with the bill. Blunt said leaders have asked House Budget Committee Chair Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) and his panel "to look at this one more time before we make our effort on the floor next week" (CQ HealthBeat, 11/10).