REAL-TIME Updates: Appropriations, Entitlements, Disaster-Aid, Debt-Ceiling, Taxes

Click & Print: 2018 HOUSE-SENATE CALENDAR

  • GOP Attempting to Avert Shutdown with 4th CRWith the current stopgap funding measure expiring this Friday, Jan. 19 at midnight, the House will vote Thursday on a 4th continuing resolution (CR) that would continue funding through Feb. 16 (aiming to complete action on a spending bill before President’s Day recess). The stopgap CR includes:
    • a 6-year reauthorization of the expired Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — a jointly financed Federal-State program that covers 9 million low-income children from families that have annual incomes above Medicaid eligibility levels but lack health insurance; and
    • delays/suspends several Affordable Care Act taxes (medical device excise tax for another two years, “Cadillac tax” on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans for two years, and a fee on health insurance provides for one year).
    • Senate will take up the measure on Friday if it passes the House.  Many Democrats are expected to vote against another CR because it does not protect “Dreamers” from deportation with the impending expiration of DACA — although it is unclear if Senate Democrats would filibuster a CR and raise the threshold for passage to 60 votes.
    • Work on an omnibus funding measure for the remainder of FY ’18 continues to be mired in negotiations over “parity” for defense and non-defense spending, and immigration issues (extending DACA protections, US-Mexico border security, and GOP proposals to limit family-based immigration and the diversity visa lottery).
    • See our Appropriations Portal for details on the “parity” issue, discretionary spending caps, FY’18 continuing resolutions, and other appropriations developments.
  • House GOP Backs Away from Social Security and Medicare Cuts:  In a major policy reversal, House Speaker Paul Ryan. speaking at a WisPolitics event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018,  said regarding Social Security and Medicare cuts/reforms, “I don’t see us tackling it this year.”
    • It is not clear, if Ryan is also backing away from promised Medicaid cuts.
    • Speaker Ryan had said on Dec. 6, “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” signaling a renewed effort to make deep cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlements.  
    • Ryan’s December statement was contrary to the promise of Candidate Trump in June 2015 to “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”  
  • Debt Ceiling May Need to be Raised by Early March; Long-Term Debt Outlook Deteriorates: The recent suspension of the debt ceiling expired December 8, 2017.  CBO had projected late last year that after Dec. 8th, Treasury’s “extraordinary measures” to raise cash “would probably be exhausted in late March or early April.”  However, a recent private sector report projects the drop-dead date may arrive in early March.
    • Failure to raise the debt ceiling would result in a default by the U.S. Treasury with catastrophic economic consequences.  Default has never occurred and would have catastrophic effects on the ability of the U.S. Treasury to issue bonds in the future, as well as destabilizing global financial markets.
    • Background: Debt Ceiling.   Background: Main drivers of Increasing Debt
  • ACA Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments End ACA cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments ended in December, without congressional action on the Alexander-Murray Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017.  There are, as yet, no reports of the legislation being included in the next stopgap CR.
    • CBO projects termination of the payments will destabilize health insurance exchanges, increase premiums, and increase federal deficits $200 billion.  More on CSR payments and ACA…
  • Disaster Aid Stalled House passed an $81 billion bill for hurricane and wildfire victims in December, but the Senate did not take up the measure due to concerns it didn’t do enough to help California, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Dodd-Frank:  Senate could vote this session on S. 2155, a bill to exempt small and mid-size banks from Dodd-Frank, although Democrats are split on the bill negotiated in committee, and House conservatives want a bill that places restraints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
  • Tax Regs/Legislation in 2018:
    • Technical corrections legislation.
    • Treasury/IRS action on implementing rules for Tax Reform;
  • International Trade in 2018 (links to key issues):
  • Foreign Policy and National Security in 2018 (links to key issues):