Posted by Bob Levi on 10/19/17
On Thursday evening, October 19, the Senate narrowly passed (51-49) its version of a budget resolution that did not include “reconciliation instructions” targeting postal and federal retirement and health benefits. The Senate GOP leadership elected to take up the House passed budget resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 71, and substitute the Senate’s Budget Committee’s text for the House bill. The Senate’s intent was focused on creating a legislative vehicle to enact tax reform, rather than burden the effort with contentious budget cutting proposals that, in part, would have impacted many federal programs, including federal and postal health and retirement benefits.
During consideration of the budget resolution, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered a series of amendments that would have, in part, directed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to make cuts to programs under its jurisdiction. These programs include federal health and retirement benefits. Each one of the Paul Amendments were defeated.
UPMA thanks its legislative activists for contacting their senators to oppose cuts to health and retirement programs within the context of the budget resolution. Now, the House and Senate will need to resolve the differences between the House and Senate-passed budget resolutions. It has been reported that the Senate version of the budget may be acceptable to the House GOP Leadership. If this is accurate, then a Conference Committee could be averted and the House will simply take up and pass the Senate-passed bill. Nevertheless, UPMA members should still communicate to their Senators and members of the House of Representatives to accept the Senate position with respect to reconciliation instructions.