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Capitol Correspondence - 11.12.19

Senate Committee Advances Bipartisan Plan to Reform Budget Process

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Programs that address key needs in the disability community, such as nutrition assistance and housing supports, have been affected by the contentious federal budget process in the past few years. As such, ANCOR will be monitoring this proposal by the Senate Budget Committee to smooth the process in coming years. As reported by Politico Pro:

“The Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday advanced a bipartisan bill to revamp the federal budget process, which members of both parties have chalked up as dysfunctional at best.

The committee approved the bill in a 15-6 vote after relocating to the tiny, ornate President’s Room off the Senate floor to accommodate a vote series on judicial nominees.

Chairman Mike Enzi and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse introduced the legislation, S. 2765 (116), last week. The bill would move the budget resolution to a two-year cycle while maintaining annual appropriations.

It would also send separate debt limit legislation directly to the president whenever Congress approves a budget resolution, automatically conforming the debt ceiling to levels called for in a budget resolution to avoid standoffs over the nation’s borrowing authority.

[…]

While Democrats lauded parts of the bill, they denounced a provision that would trigger a new, automatic reconciliation process, forcing Congress to consider deep cuts to mandatory programs like Medicare and Medicaid under expedited legislative procedures. The bill would require Congress to consider deficit reduction legislation through reconciliation if the Congressional Budget Office’s 10-year debt projection is higher than what’s reflected in the budget resolution.

[…]

One tweak from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) would require the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office to consider tax expenditures as they review federal spending to help lawmakers make more informed budget decisions. The committee also approved an amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would crack down on the use of the Crime Victims Fund as a CHIMP.”