How Colorado’s congressional delegation voted this week
Author: Tom Ramstack - October 20, 2017 - Updated: March 28, 2018
H.Con.Res. 71: Establishing the congressional budget for the U.S. government for fiscal 2018 and setting budget levels for fiscal 2019 through 2027
This was a vote to agree to the budget proposal in the Senate.
The resolution sets the budget for fiscal 2018 and budget levels for fiscal 2019 through 2027. The resolution sets discretionary spending for fiscal 2018 at $1.132 trillion, which includes $621.5 billion for defense spending and $511 billion in non-defense discretionary spending. The budget is supposed to achieve $6.5 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years and produce a $9 billion surplus in fiscal 2027. Approval of the budget was a major step toward enacting Republican-proposed tax cuts. However, the tax cut is projected to increase the national deficit by $1.5 trillion in the next decade. Senate Republicans originally promised to ensure tax reform would not add to the deficit. They said new revenue from eliminating some deductions would offset the losses to the federal budget caused by tax cuts. They abandoned their pledge of deficit reduction in frustration over being unable to win the clear majority they needed to approve the budget. The Senate budget now moves to a vote in the House.
S.Amdt. 1301 to block oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
This was a vote on Amendment 1301 to the Senate budget.
The Senate rejected a Democratic proposal to ban oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Senate Republican-led budget would allow oil drilling to raise revenue for the federal government. However, most Democrats and environmentalists say the refuge’s habitat and wildlife could be endangered by oil drilling. Polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other animal species live in the refuge. The Senate’s budget directs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to put together legislation that would yield $1 billion in new revenue from the oil drilling in the next decade.
S.Amdt. 1119: To provide resources to restore cuts to Medicaid, which would be paid by reducing tax breaks for the wealthy
This was a vote on Amendment 1119 to the Senate budget.
This amendment sought to restore cuts to the Medicaid program in the Senate budget by reducing the tax breaks for the wealthy. The additional government revenue from the wealthiest taxpayers then would be put back into Medicaid to help pay for health care of low income persons. The Senate budget proposes broad tax cuts. However, Amendment 1119 would not allow tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of individuals’ incomes. It would have required any congressional bill that seeks to cut taxes for the top 1 percent of individual income earners be subject to the Senate’s 60-vote threshold before it could pass. In other words, passage would have been extremely difficult. The exemption from tax cut eligibility would have applied to anyone earning more than $466,000 in adjusted gross income, which the Internal Revenue Service reports would put them in the top 1 percent.
S.Amdt. 1146: Tax relief for American families with children
This was a vote on Senate Amendment 1146 to the Senate budget.
This amendment, which won unanimous approval in the Senate, expands the child tax credit. It is intended to help middle-income families pay for child care. The amendment allows a deduction of $2,000 per child from both income reported to the Internal Revenue Service as well as income calculated for Social Security and Medicare, which has the effect of lowering payroll tax deductions. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said after the Senate approved the amendment, “It has become increasingly expensive to raise children in the 21st century and this bipartisan measure ensures that we are on track to invest in our families and future American taxpayers. Tax reform will not pass unless we significantly expand the child tax credit.”
S.Amdt. 1144: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect Medicare and Medicaid
This amendment to the Senate budget authorizes a reserve fund for legislation to strengthen Medicaid and to extend the end date for the Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance Trust Fund. However, money for the reserve fund could be set aside only if it does not increase the federal deficit. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has two goals. First, it seeks to protect Medicaid for low-income children, pregnant women, elderly persons and the disabled. Second, it would ensure health benefits for Medicare recipients. Hatch said the amendment was needed because tax cuts in the Senate budget risked a shortfall of funding for Medicaid and Medicare.