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Capitol Correspondence - 01.29.18

Shutdown Abbreviated, CHIP Funded, and Long-Term Budget Discussions Underway

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Congress abbreviated the shut down last Monday (January 22) by striking a short-term budget deal. The deal funds the Medicaid Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 6 years, concluding an almost year-long source of concern for states and advocates. The deal also deferred the implementation of the Obamacare medical device tax and “Cadillac plan” tax. Finally, it funded the federal government for 3 weeks to make time for long-term budget negotiations between the parties.

The on-going long-term budget negotiations could lead to legislation that would fund the government for a two year period and ease spending caps for defense and domestic programs. Specifically, defense spending could be increased by $70 billion and domestic spending by $45-50 billion, although Democrats might push for $60 billion to come closer to parity between defense and domestic spending. Parity has been a key party priority in the recent past.

However, several factors complicate these negotiations:

Scheduling conflicts limit how much time Members of Congress will be spending with each other:

  • Republican law makers are pre-occupied with back to back events. The Republican National Committee is meeting this week in Washington, D.C. Congressional Republicans are also gathering this week in West Virginia for the annual GOP Congressional Retreat, during which Members of Congress hammer out key priorities for the year (President Trump is joining them there).
    • ANCOR is paying close attention to the role health care and the safety net will play in these discussions and will keep members updated.
  • Democratic lawmakers will also host their own Retreat at Mount Vernon.

The role of immigration in these negotiations could change:

  • Politico Pro has reported that Senate Democrats might remove demands for a vote on DACA, though this is still tentative. Should this shift occur, it could lead to intra-party dissent from Democratic House counterparts since addressing the DACA issue was part of the short-term funding deal.
  • The White House’s recently leaked immigration plan has been rejected by Senate Democratic Leader Schumer, so it remains to be seen how these interactions will spill over to funding negotiations.

It is unclear how the White House will respond to a long-term deal.

  • The President has not given clear indications on how he will respond to the final proposal once it is complete, particularly as the Administration prepares to lay out its funding priorities in its budget. See more about the White House budget in a separate Correspondence article here.

ANCOR will keep members informed as details on the negotiations and their implications for IDD programs emerge.