On October 19, the Senate passed its FY 2018 Budget Resolution by a near party line vote of 51 to 49. Passing the measure (H. Con Res 71, as amended) is a critical step toward the Administration’s current top priority to cut taxes. Though the budget resolution is not a legally binding document, it provides a blueprint for federal spending and revenues for the next decade and authorizes certain committee and Congressional action for this fiscal year. The Senate budget resolution provides instructions to the Finance Committee and appropriate House committees allowing them to develop legislation that increases the deficit by up to $1.5 trillion over 10 years. That legislation would only require a simple majority (50) in the Senate to pass during FY 18.
In addition to taxation, the Finance Committee has jurisdiction over Medicaid, Medicare, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and other health and human services programs. The Senate budget assumes over $5 trillion in program cuts, including a nearly 30% cut in inflation adjusted dollars to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs. Fortunately, however, 60 votes will be needed in the Senate to change the caps for defense and NDD programs established by the Budget Control Act of 2011. According to press reports, the House is likely to pass the Senate’s budget, making a conference between the two chambers unnecessary. This could result in tax cut legislation being developed within the next month. Click here for an analysis on how tax cuts that add significantly to the deficit may affect programs for people with disabilities.