Senate Parliamentarian Set To Rule As Debate Shifts To Upper Chamber
The Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin met with Democrats and Republicans Monday afternoon on a Republican challenge to Democrats' reconciliation legislation.
Roll Call: Frumin heard arguments for and against the challenge but did not issue a ruling. "Additional Republican challenges to the Democratic reconciliation package will be made this week, a GOP aide confirmed. Democratic and Republican Senate staff met with Frumin behind closed doors Monday afternoon, with Republicans arguing that one provision of the reconciliation bill violates Section 310g of the Budget Act and should result in the entire package losing its reconciliation status. Democratic staff made the opposing argument." The section stops reconciliation legislation from impacting Social Security, which the GOP says an excise tax on high-cost health plans would do (Drucker and Pierce, 3/22).
CQ: "Should he find in favor of the Republican challenge, however, the entire reconciliation bill could be thrown out. The Congressional Budget Office had found that the original Senate health bill, which would tax high-cost employer-sponsored plans, would result in some employers reducing the cost of their workers' insurance and paying them higher wages instead. That would result in workers paying higher Social Security taxes, which CBO said would add about $53 billion to Social Security's trust funds over the next decade." After the reconciliation bill's delay of the excise tax to 2018, however, about $23 billion less would go into Social Security's trust funds, the CBO said. "The question is whether those budget effects amount to a 'recommendation' regarding Social Security" (Wayne, 3/22).
MSNBC: "Other 'rolling meetings' are expected about various provisions within the House package to determine if they meet the criteria for use of the reconciliation voting method. The parliamentarian is a civil servant appointed by the majority who advises the Senate and interprets rules and procedures. The parliamentarian has been meeting with both parties separately for weeks as they prepared for this next phase of the debate" (O'Donnell, 3/22).