“Let’s not use this fast-track process to add to our deficit.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 budget being considered in the Senate that would prohibit the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act from increasing the deficit.
“This budget process was created for deficit reduction—which the Republican majority claims to care so much about,” Senator Baldwin said. “Rather than reduce our debt, Republicans are choosing to fast track tax breaks to those at the top, take people’s health care away, and turn control back over to insurance companies. If repealing the Affordable Care Act is so important—if putting the health coverage of over 30 million Americans at risk is so important—then they ought to pay for it.”
Baldwin’s amendment would restore the “Conrad rule” prohibiting reconciliation legislation from increasing the deficit within the ten-year budget window. This rule, named after former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), was in place from 2007 until it was repealed in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget resolution.
“The entire reason Reconciliation was created was for deficit reduction. For that special, protected, fast track process to be used to increase the deficit stands logic and its history on its head. It is past time to restore the Reconciliation process to its original purpose which was exclusively for deficit reduction. I applaud Senator Baldwin and her allies in this effort as truly fiscally responsible members,” said former Senator Conrad.
“Reconciliation legislation is considered under special expedited procedures and should be used to enact the tough choices necessary to reduce the debt trajectory, not to make tax and spending giveaways even easier to deliver,” said Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Budget. “Senator Baldwin's amendment would help ensure reconciliation is part of more responsible budgeting - something we particularly need now when the debt is so high relative to the economy.”
Senators Angus King (I-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) have all cosponsored the Baldwin amendment.