Markup of Republican Reconciliation Legislation
The House Budget Committee will take up budget reconciliation recommendations that are an attack on women's health care and yet another exercise in Republican posturing against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The reconciliation package continues the Republican crusade against women's health care by prohibiting one year of federal payments to Planned Parenthood for important services such as contraception and cancer screenings. In addition, a floor vote on this package would be the House's 61st vote to repeal, defund, or otherwise undermine the ACA. This reconciliation package is not a serious exercise in legislating. It is motivated by a desire to destroy the ACA, not to improve it, and to score points with Tea Party Republicans who would rather shut down the government than allow Planned Parenthood clinics to receive federal funds for providing important health care services for women.
Republicans refuse to accept that the ACA is a success. The law has provided health security to nearly 18 million previously uninsured Americans since 2010. It has also contributed to a historic slowdown in health spending growth, which helps not only the federal budget, but also family budgets. The reconciliation legislation repudiates these achievements. It would add millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured and raise premiums for millions of others. Moreover, despite five years of Republican promises to "replace” the ACA with something supposedly better, this legislation fails to offer an alternative plan to make coverage affordable and accessible to all Americans. Consequently, the package does not represent coherent health policy, and it will face a certain veto if it reaches the President's desk.
Americans would be better served if, instead of wasting time on this futile crusade, Republicans would join Democrats in crafting a bipartisan budget deal to move the country and economy forward by replacing the damaging sequester and avoiding a government shutdown that now potentially looms in December.
Democratic Motion to Instruct #1, offered by Rep. Van Hollen
Prevent a December Government Shutdown and Raise Discretionary Caps to Fund Essential Services at Necessary Levels
Rep. Van Hollen moves that the Committee on the Budget direct its Chairman to request on behalf of the Committee that the rule for consideration of the reconciliation bill make in order an amendment that would (1) strike all of the underlying text, which is an irresponsible attack on women's health care and the Affordable Care Act, and (2) replace it with the text of H.R. 3708, which calls for bipartisan negotiations to raise the discretionary spending caps for fiscal year 2016 or, if those negotiations fail, raises the defense and non-defense discretionary caps by equal amounts to the President's requested level to allow appropriations action to proceed and fund essential services at necessary levels.