The Economy

Senate Targets Obamacare With Budget Resolution

Republicans are unlikely to follow up the blueprint's aggressive cuts to nondefense programs with actual legislation.
Katie Kuehner-HebertMay 6, 2015

The Senate on Tuesday passed the first joint budget resolution in more than five years, a nonbinding budget blueprint meant to enable a summer debate over the repeal of Obamacare without a Democrat filibuster, according to an Associated Press article on Yahoo! Finance.

While President Barack Obama is certain to veto any repeal legislation, Senate Democrats would be unable to filibuster under fast-track budget rules, the AP said.

The blueprint, passed 51-48, also calls for unspecified cuts to many domestic programs including Medicaid, food stamps, student aid, highway construction, and scientific research, but GOP leaders likely won’t include many of the cuts in the actual spending bill later this year. The measure also calls for increases to the Pentagon’s budget.

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“The GOP document also lacks specifics about which programs would be cut, insulating the Senate’s large crop of vulnerable incumbents from taking a more politically dangerous vote,” the AP wrote.

A Washington Post article said the budget adheres to domestic spending caps included in the 2011 Budget Control Act, also known as the sequester, and uses nearly $40 billion in off-budget funds to boost defense spending to more than $563 billion.

“Democrats in Congress and the White House have said they want to see a dollar-for-dollar match in increased funding for domestic programs and the military before they’ll agree to any funding bills,” according to The Washington Post.

“House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said last month that he would be open to a conversation about lifting the spending caps in a deal similar to an agreement reached by former House and Senate Budget Committee chairs Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2011.”