22 July 2017

Oh, Snap!

In the Senate there is something known as the Byrd Rule.

Basically, it states that only items that effect the deficit can be placed in the budget resolution.

This is significant because the budget resolution is not subject to the filibuster.

Well, the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that the most recent budget resolution, which includes Trumpcare, includes provisions that run afoul of the Byrd Rule:
The Senate Republican bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act encountered huge new problems on Friday night after the Senate parliamentarian challenged key provisions that are needed to win conservative votes and to make the health bill workable.

The provisions appear to violate Senate rules, the parliamentarian said, giving Democrats grounds to challenge them as the Senate prepares for a battle next week over the future of the Affordable Care Act.

One provision questioned by the parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, and cherished by conservatives would cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood for one year. Another would prohibit use of federal subsidies to buy insurance that includes coverage for abortions.

A third provision would penalize people who go without health insurance by requiring them to wait six months before their coverage could begin. Insurers would generally be required to impose the waiting period on people who lacked coverage for more than about two months in the prior year.

If formally challenged, the provisions could survive only with 60 votes, a near-impossibility in the partisan, narrowly divided Senate. The abortion-related provisions are important to many conservatives, not just in the Senate but also in the House.


The waiting period provision is fundamental to the working of the bill. Because the legislation would end the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that most Americans have health insurance, the waiting period was designed to ensure that people could not simply wait to get sick before they purchased a policy.


The parliamentarian also objected to a narrowly written provision that would shift Medicaid costs from New York’s counties to its state government. This provision, tagged by opponents as the “Buffalo Bailout,” was included in a repeal bill passed by the House in May to secure the votes of Republican House members from upstate New York.

The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, suggested that other provisions written specifically for different states could also be at risk.

“This will greatly tie the majority leader’s hands as he tries to win over reluctant Republicans with state-specific provisions,” Mr. Schumer said. “We will challenge every one of them.”


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