U.S. Senate Opens Budget Debate
Fifty Senators voted Tuesday to open debate on a 2018 budget, following passage of a House budget resolution the week before. A Senate vote is expected sometime before the end of the week.
In both chambers these debates have been strictly partisan, although disagreements among key Republican Senators have been highlighted in numerous news outlets. Senators Rand Paul and John McCain stand in particularly stark opposition, with Paul focused on savings while McCain seeks to boost defense spending.
Resolutions can pass by simple majority, so just 51 votes are required to pass the Senate resolution. Because at present the Senate resolution is at variance with the House's (the Senate version increases the deficit by $1.5 trillion), both bodies will have to negotiate a final agreement.
Passage of a unified Congressional Budget Resolution is viewed as in important step in tax reform for the Republican party. Because the party's plans include large tax cuts, those reforms are likely to have a negative long-term impact upon Medicaid and other social service programs. ORA and other disability groups are watching these debates with great concern.