House May Need to Vote Again on GOP Obamacare Repeal Bill

House Republicans barely managed to pass their Obamacare repeal bill earlier this month, and they now face the possibility of having to vote again on their controversial health measure.

House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t yet sent the bill to the Senate because there’s a chance that parts of it may need to be redone, depending on how the Congressional Budget Office estimates its effects. House leaders want to make sure the bill conforms with Senate rules for reconciliation, a mechanism that allows Senate Republicans to pass the bill with a simple majority.

Republicans had rushed to vote on the health bill so the Senate could get a quick start on it, even before the CBO had finished analyzing a series of last-minute changes. The CBO is expected to release an updated estimate next week.

“Unaware,” said Representative Jeff Denham of California, with noticeable surprise Thursday, when advised that his party leaders still hadn’t sent the bill over to the Senate. Denham was one of the House Republicans who ended up voting for the measure, after earlier in the week opposing it.

“I am on the whip team and we have a lot of conversations, but we have not had that one. So I am going to look into it,” said Denham, a member of the party’s vote-counting team.

In the Senate, the bill must hit separate $1 billion deficit reduction targets in the jurisdiction of the Finance Committee and the chamber’s health committee. Republican aides said failing to meet those numbers would force the House to fix the bill even if the legislation meets the overall cost-savings target.

If Republican leaders hold onto the bill until the CBO report is released, then Ryan and his team could still redo it if necessary. That would require at least one more House vote of some sort.

Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday that he doesn’t think the House will need to vote again on the health law. “We just want to, out of an abundance of caution, wait to send the bill over to the Senate when we get the final score,” Ryan said.

It’s unclear what assumptions the CBO will make about what states will do with that newly created flexibility. If millions of people sign up for much cheaper, minimal insurance, that could trigger billions — and potentially even hundreds of billions — in costs over a decade because of the House bill’s health insurance tax credits.

Read the complete article on Bloomberg web site.

Trump budget plan could add $6tn to public debt in a decade, analysts say

Trump’s budget plans could add $6tn to a public debt that is already expanding rapidly, analysts say. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Trump’s budget plans could add $6tn to a public debt that is already expanding rapidly, analysts say. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Donald Trump’s tax-cutting and spending plans could add another $6tn to the US public debt over the next 10 years, independent budget analysts have calculated, as the Congressional Budget Office warned the US’s current spending plans alone could trigger a financial crisis.

The CBO released its latest assessment of the US budget and economic outlook on Tuesday. The CBO reported that Trump would inherit a $559bn deficit for 2017 and still-sluggish economy that will, on its current course, add another $10tn to the public debt over the next decade.

The CBO report projects that the US’s gross debt will grow from almost $20tn to $30tn by the end of 2027. Debt held by the public is expected to grow from about $14tn to almost $25tn. The major drivers for the debt are the growing cost of looking after the US’s ageing population and expected rises in interest rates.

“This is not a problem of runaway defense spending or runaway welfare programmes. It’s a problem of the rising cost of major entitlements that mainly go to the elderly and rising interest rates which are returning to more normal levels,” said Goldwein.

Unless something changes, within three decades the debt will double when measured against the size of the economy’s gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of a nation’s economic health, reaching a level never seen in US history, the CBO said.

“Three decades from now, for instance, debt held by the public is projected to be nearly twice as high, relative to GDP, as it is this year – and a higher percentage than any previously recorded,” the CBO reported. “Such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences for the budget and the nation.”

A debt of that size would lead to lower productivity and wages, and hamper lawmakers’ ability to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges.

“The likelihood of a fiscal crisis in the United States would increase. There would be a greater risk that investors would become unwilling to finance the government’s borrowing unless they were compensated with very high interest rates; if that happened, interest rates on federal debt would rise suddenly and sharply,” the CBO warned.

Read the complete article on The Guardian newspaper web site here.