Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House Committee Passes Tax Bill

On November 9, the House Ways and Means Committee voted along partisan lines to advance H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Arc opposes this bill because it would reduce revenue by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, thereby increasing pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs. In addition, The Arc opposes the measure’s disproportionate benefit to wealthy individuals and corporations and its repeal of expenditures that benefit people with disabilities – the medical and dental expense deduction, the work opportunity tax credit, and the disabled access tax credit. The bill also modifies Section 529 education savings accounts to cover elementary and high school expenses of up to $10,000 per year and removes income limits. Such a change would allow for wealthy individuals to receive a tax benefit for sending their child to private schools, which are not required to accept or provide a free and appropriate education to students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (read more here). Click here for a section-by-section summary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and click here to read the statement from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Fiscal Policy Task Force on the bill’s advancement.

Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House Committee Begins Mark Up of Tax Bill

The Ways and Means Committee begins its markup of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act today.  The Arc opposes this bill as it does not meet our shared principles for tax reform.  The Arc is also concerned that Congress may add repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that people purchase health insurance when the bill is considered by the committee.

Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House Releases Harmful Tax Bill

On November 3, the House Ways and Means Committee released its tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1).  While the bill does not include cuts to Medicaid or other federal programs, The Arc opposes this bill due to the $1.5 trillion over 10 years that the bill would add to the deficit, thereby increasing pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs in the future.  In addition, The Arc opposes the measure’s disproportionate benefit to wealthy individuals and corporations and it’s repeal of expenditures that benefit people with disabilities – the medical and dental expense deduction, the work opportunity tax credit, and the disabled access tax credit.  The bill also modifies Section 529 education savings accounts to cover elementary and high school expenses of up to $10,000 per year and removes income limits. Such a change would allow for wealthy individuals to receive a tax benefit for sending their child to private schools, which are not required to accept or provide a free and appropriate education to student with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (read more here).  Click here for a section-by-section summary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and click here to read the statement from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) on the bill.

Budget & Appropriations – House Passes Senate FY 2018 Budget Resolution, Setting the Stage for Tax Cuts and Possible Program Cuts

On October 26, the House passed the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Senate Budget Resolution (H. Con Res 71, as amended) by a vote of 216 to 212. Since the House simply passed the Senate’s budget rather than going to conference to negotiate the significant differences between the chambers’ bills, the timeframe for a tax reform bill has been speeded up. Though the Budget Resolution is not a 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 final Budget Resolution provides instructions to the Finance Committee and House Ways and Means 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 (51 or 50 plus the tie-breaking vote of the Vice President) 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 House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over taxation and several health and human services programs (see list). The Senate budget assumes, but does not require, 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.

Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House Committee Expected to Release Tax Bill

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced that the Committee would release a draft of its tax bill on November 1. Markup of the legislation is scheduled to begin on November 6. Despite the announcement, there reportedly continues to be disagreement among Members of Congress on tax expenditures (credits, deductions, exclusions, and deferrals) that should be eliminated or reduced in order to offset the cost of cutting tax rates. The Arc will review the legislation to ensure that it is consistent with our shared principles for tax reform which include not cutting essential federal programs to help pay for tax cuts that primarily benefit wealthy individuals and corporations. See The Arc’s blog for more information.

Budget & Appropriations – Senate Passes FY 2018 Budget Resolution, Setting the Stage for Tax Cuts and Possible Program Cuts

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.

Budget & Appropriations – Senate Expected to Vote on FY 2018 Budget Resolution, Helping to Set the Stage for Tax Cuts and Possible Program Cuts

The full Senate is expected to take up its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Budget Resolution this week. The Senate Budget provides instructions to the Finance Committee to allow the Committee to develop legislation that increases the deficit by up to $1.5 trillion over the next decade. 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 also assumes, but does not require, trillions of dollars in cuts to mandatory programs and proposes a cut of nearly 30% in inflation adjusted dollars to non-defense discretionary programs by 2027. It also includes an amendment by Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) that was passed by the Senate Budget Committee for implementing work requirements for all means-tested federal “welfare” programs.

If the measure passes as expected, it will set up a conference with the House to iron out the substantial differences between the two budgets. If both chambers are able to pass the same version, it would allow for legislation that can be passed by a simple majority (51) in the Senate. If the House defers to the Senate version, as is presently being reported, any resulting tax cut legislation that exceeds $1.5 trillion over ten years could result in cuts from mandatory programs (such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income) to make up the difference. Click here for an analysis of the Senate 2018 Budget Resolution.

Budget & Appropriations – Senate Committee Passes FY 2018 Budget Resolution

The Senate Budget Committee passed its fiscal year 2018 Budget along a party line vote of 12 to 11 on October 5. It also passed an amendment by Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) for implementing work requirements for all means-tested federal “welfare” programs. The Senate Budget provides instructions to the Finance Committee to allow the Committee to increase the deficit by to $1.5 trillion over the next decade. 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 also assumes trillions of dollars in cuts to mandatory programs and proposes a cut of nearly 30% in inflation adjusted dollars to non-defense discretionary programs by 2027.

The full Senate is expected to take up the measure the week of October 16. If it passes as expected, it will set up a conference with the House to iron out the substantial differences between their budgets. If both chambers are able to pass the same version, it could allow for legislation that can be passed by a simple majority (51) in the Senate. Click here for an analysis of the Senate 2018 Budget Resolution.

Budget & Appropriations – House Passes FY 2018 Budget Resolution, Setting the Stage for Tax Cuts and Possible Medicaid Cuts

The House passed its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Budget Resolution (H.Con.Res.71) on October 5 by a vote of 219 to 206. While tax reform is the stated priority of the majority party for this budget, there are numerous provisions that would be very harmful to people with disabilities. The House Budget Resolution has stronger language than the Senate Budget Resolution calling for trillions of dollars in spending cuts over a decade, including to programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. The House Budget also assumes the adoption of an Affordable Care Act repeal bill that has not advanced. It does not allow for tax cuts to increase the deficit, also unlike the Senate’s Budget. Instead it provides instructions to 11 committees for $203 billion in spending cuts and proposes to cut nondefense spending by $5 billion, while increasing defense spending by $72 billion. Click here for The Arc’s statement on the House passage of its 2018 Budget Resolution.