House Approves Rule To Limit Debate on Various Budget Proposals
The House on Tuesday voted 224-189 along party lines to approve a rule governing debate on House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports.
The rule allows four hours of debate on Ryan's budget and sets up 30 minutes of debate on several alternative budget proposals that are put to a vote (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 3/20).
Ryan's budget proposal would balance the federal budget over the next decade by repealing the Affordable Care Act, transitioning Medicare to a premium-support program and turning Medicaid into a block-grant system. The budget proposal calls for $4.6 trillion in savings, with about $2.7 trillion coming from federal health care programs (California Healthline, 3/13).
Democrats criticized Ryan's budget for bestowing sharp cuts to spending on federal programs that help U.S. residents.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said Republicans have "made clear that their vision for America is a vision that says the nation can no longer care for our seniors, that we must halt vital scientific research, and that we should let our bridges and schools crumble because we cannot afford to invest in the future" ("Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 3/19).
Senate Democrats Push for Budget Vote This Week
Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday said the chamber will hold a vote on Senate Democrats' 2014 budget proposal before recessing for Easter at the end of the week, The Hill's "On The Money" reports (Cox/Wasson, "On The Money," The Hill, 3/19).
Senate Democrats' spending blueprint -- proposed by Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) -- would lower the federal budget deficit to an amount equal to 2.2% of gross domestic product by 2023.
The proposal would achieve that target through an equal mix of new tax revenues and spending cuts, including a $265 billion reduction to Medicare and a $10 billion cut to Medicaid (California Healthline, 3/14). On Monday, the Senate voted 63-35 to invoke cloture on the Senate bill, which allowed the Democratic leadership to table about 100 amendments (California Healthline, 3/19).
According to "On The Money," moving forward with the Senate Democrats' proposal could mean that senators would have to work on Saturday and Sunday because they have dedicated so much time to the House-approved continuing resolution extension bill (HR 933).
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Tuesday suggested that the Senate work on the budget after the two-week recess, rather than working through the weekend.
However, Reid dismissed the idea, saying, "We're going to move forward on this." He added, "This is the debate the Republicans have wanted, so let's have them stop stalling, and let's have the debate" ("On The Money," The Hill, 3/19).
Senate Moves To Advance CR
Meanwhile, Reid scheduled a cloture vote for Wednesday morning to end debate on the Democratic-sponsored substitute amendment to HR 933, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports.
If cloture is invoked, Reid asked that the 30 hours of post-cloture time start at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, which would pave the way for a final vote on the $984 billion spending bill for Thursday morning (Cox, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 3/19).
House Expected To Quickly Approve Senate CR
House Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said the House will "likely" take up the Senate-approved CR without changes, The Hill's "On The Money" reports.
Aides said that the final decision will be made after House Republican leaders see what amendments are attached to the bill. However, GOP aides have said no "poison pills" have been added (Wasson, "On The Money," The Hill, 3/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.