THE DAILY WHIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2017

House Meets At:First Vote Predicted:Last Vote Predicted:
9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes”
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

H.Res. 48 – Rule Providing for Consideration of both S.Con.Res. 3“Fiscal Year 2017 Republican Budget Resolution” (Sen. Enzi – Budget) and S. 84 – To provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces (Sen. McCain – Armed Services) (One Hour of Debate).  The Rules Committee has recommended one Rule which would provide for consideration of two bills.

The Rules Committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for two hours of general debate with ninety minutes equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Budget and thirty minutes equally divided between members of the Joint Economic Committee. The Rule makes in order 1 amendment in the nature of a substitute, and waives all points of order against it.

For S. 84, the Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for ninety minutes of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Armed Services.  The Rule allows one motion to commit and waives all points of order against the legislation.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.

S.Con.Res. 3“Fiscal Year 2017 Republican Budget Resolution” (Sen. Enzi – Budget) (Two hours of debate).  The FY17 Republican Budget Resolution is a cynical use of the budget process to advance a partisan effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  After abandoning their initial budget resolution for this year over divisions within their own party, Congressional Republicans have introduced this new measure, devoid of any attempt to budget for our many national priorities, for the sole purpose of utilizing “budget reconciliation” to expedite legislation to repeal the ACA through the Senate.

They do so by providing the Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committees and House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees with reconciliation instructions to report legislation with a combined $2 billion in deficit reduction over the next ten years.  Although there are no specific policies identified for achieving this fiscal goal, Republicans indicate they intend to repeal the ACA.  Reconciliation’s expedited procedures allow them to bypass the 60 vote threshold in the Senate and pass legislation with a simple majority.

Ironically, the Republican budget resolution never balances, with deficits increasing to over $1 trillion and adding $9.5 trillion to the debt over its ten years.  Suddenly handed the purse strings after years of calling for balanced budgets, Republicans find themselves in the hypocritical position of endorsing trillions in deficits and new debt to expedite their plan to take away health coverage from tens of millions of Americans, increase health care costs for millions more, and create uncertainty for patients and providers.  

The Republican budget resolution could have immediate and devastating consequences for millions of Americans.  Using reconciliation to repeal the ACA without immediately replacing it would mean: (1) over 30 million Americans would lose their coverage, including nearly 4 million children; (2) more than 52 million individuals with pre-existing health conditions could have their coverage rescinded or their health care premiums dramatically increased; (3) millions of young adults would be unable to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old; (4) over 14 million individuals enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion would lose coverage; and (5) nearly 140 million individuals with private insurance could lose access to preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.

Even though Republicans have promised for years that they would repeal and replace the ACA, it is clear they do not have a plan to replace it.  President-Elect Trump has said that Republicans in Congress should repeal the ACA at the same time that they replace it, and many Congressional Republicans are now realizing that the reality of taking away health care from millions of Americans with no replacement plan would be disastrous.  Despite emerging internal divisions, fueled by heightened concerns of the real world consequences of their rhetoric turned into action, Republican leaders in the House and Senate are moving forward without any concern for the individuals who will be harmed by their reckless actions.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Bill Text for S.Con.Res. 3:
PDF Version

S. 84 – To provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces (Sen. McCain – Armed Services) (Ninety minutes of debate).  This measure would provide an exception for anyone who has served in the military in the past seven years to be President-Elect Trump’s first Secretary of Defense.  Under current law, a seven-year waiting period is required for retired military officers to serve as Secretary of Defense.

This seven-year waiting period was instated in 1947 to ensure that the U.S. military was under civilian command.  In 1950 Congress made a one-time exception to the rule to allow George C. Marshall to serve as Defense Secretary, but this was considered an extraordinary situation because the United States was facing a potential defeat in the Korean War.

Retired Marine General, James Mattis is President-Elect Trump’s choice for Defense Secretary.  To the extent General Mattis retired from service in 2013, Congress must amend the 1947 restriction in order for Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense.  Chairman of the Armed Services, Mac Thornberry, invited Gen. Mattis to testify before the Armed Services Committee, since Congress would be granting him an incredibly rare exception that has not been made in nearly sixty-seven years.  Just a few days ago, General Mattis, at the direction of the incoming Trump Administration, cancelled a scheduled hearing in the House Armed Services Committee.  Although President-Elect Trump has repeatedly criticized the outgoing Obama Administration for ignoring the legislative branch, one of his first acts before he is even inaugurated is to do just that – disregard legislative prerogative.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Bill Text for S. 84:
PDF Version

 
The Daily Quote

"Congressional Republicans’ struggle to take the first step toward repealing and replacing the health care law using a fiscal 2017 budget resolution intensified… as they debated how soon to roll out a replacement and defended their coordination with their incoming president… House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said it’s still an ‘open question’ whether there are enough votes to adopt the budget."

      -      Roll Call, 1/11/2017