Senate Healthcare Bill Released for Consideration
The Senate bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare was released on Thursday. At 142 pages, the legislation seeks to make large cuts to Medicaid, as well as end the mandates and many tax provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The bill is important to tax reform efforts as well: according to the CBO, the version the House previously passed would reduce outlays by nearly $1.2 trillion over ten years; the Congressional Budget Office has not disclosed when it will release its score of the Senate bill. The Senate must vote on the healthcare bill before it can vote on the budget. Only then can it begin tax reform in full. According to Morning Consult, “Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) said in a joint statement they are ‘not ready’ to vote for the bill, while adding that they are open to negotiations and getting more information about the measure.” The Wall Street Journal has released analysis detailing the differences between the Senate and House versions.
Democrats Meet with Trump Administration to Talk Tax Reform
Democrats met with members of the Trump administration to talk tax reform on Tuesday, The Hill reported. The 18-member Blue Dog coalition talked with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the White House chief economic adviser and the president’s director of legislative affairs. They pressed for the need to have bipartisan legislation, and expressed willingness to help with the process. With the increasing power of the House Freedom Caucus to influence or halt Republican-only legislation, bipartisan cooperation would deal a blow to the hardline-conservative group’s agenda.
U.S. Banks Pass Essential ‘Stress Test’
The largest U.S. banks passed part one of two of annual so-called stress tests required under Dodd-Frank, Reuters wrote. The test is formulated to show if banks are able to keep enough available capital in extreme recessions to meet regulatory requirements. According to the Federal Reserve, the level of high-quality capital the banks would have available would be far above the level required by regulators. This comes as officials of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve testified to the Senate Banking Committee that they believe changes should be made to major banking regulations, specifically the Volcker rule, to make them less burdensome.
Ben Marsico works on public policy issues for ACG.