CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Thursday, March 25, 2010, the House is scheduled consider Senate changes to H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. On Sunday, March 21, 2010, House Democrats voted to unilaterally pass a sweeping, $1.2 trillion health care takeover, which included funding for elective abortions and $569 billion in tax increases. The package included the Senates' government takeover of health care, H.R. 3590, which passed by a vote of 219-212. In addition, the House passed the so-called "fix it" reconciliation bill, H.R. 4872, by a vote of 220-211.
On March 23rd, the president signed H.R. 3590 into law. On Thursday, March 25, 2010, the Senate passed an amended version of the reconciliation bill, removing provisions that did not impact the budget and were thus deemed violations of the "Byrd Rule," by a vote of 56-43. Because provisions relating to Pell Grants were stripped from the measure on Budget Act points of order, the bill was returned to the House for further disposition. If the House passes the amended reconciliation bill, the legislation would be presented to the president for his signature.
Note: This Legislation Digest summarizes the provisions that were removed from the House-passed version of the reconciliation bill, because they were subject to a Byrd Rule point of order. For a complete summary of H.R. 4872 (as well as H.R. 3590), see the Legislative Digest from March 21, 2010.
Future Appropriated Spending Levels: The Senate amendment strikes lines 15 through 25 on page 118 of the legislation. Under this provision, future mandatory spending for Pell Grants would be maintained at a set base level, even if the formula for the mandatory spending dictated a lower amount. The formula that dictates the amount relies on the annual appropriations amount each year. This appropriated spending will not be determined until it is enacted through the appropriations process, and CBO cannot predict what the appropriators will do year to year. Thus, CBO is unable to score this provision and the Senate Parliamentarian deemed it a violation of the Byrd rule.
Ratable Reductions: The Senate amendment also strikes line 3 from page 120 of H.R. 4872. This provision would have removed ratable reduction language in current law that requires the Secretary of Education to reduce spending for Pell Grants if there is not enough mandatory funding. However, the ratable reduction will not have an effect as a result of the the way the new mandatory spending is calculated. Thus, the removal of the ratable reduction would have no effect on the budget and, as such, was in violation of the Byrd rule.