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.