House Republicans passed a budget on Wednesday after employing the very unusual “Queen of the Hill” rule. The budget that earned the most votes was the one dubbed “Price 2,” which matches the one passed in the House Budget panel last week but includes a $20 billion increase in defense spending.
In order to pass a 2016 budget, Republican leaders have turned to a rarely used rule that would allow lawmakers to vote on multiple proposals, hoping to appease conservatives and the so-called “hawks.” According to GOP leadership, the goal was to pass a budget in the first 100 days of the new Congress, and they are confident that they will do so.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has once again disregarded the conservative arm of the Republican Party and will forge ahead with two items that will increase the federal budget deficit. Boehner intends to drive a defense spending increase and the so-called “doc fix” through the United States House of Representatives over the next week.
Republicans in Congress have released their first budget outline since the GOP took control of Congress in November. The Republican blueprint calls for a number of ambitious moves, including significant changes to Medicare and increases in defense spending, and reiterates the GOP call for a complete repeal of ObamaCare.
According to the Obama administration, 86 percent of ObamaCare enrollees receive financial assistance to help pay premiums. Of that amount, approximately three-fourths live in the 37 states that are currently served by the federal insurance exchange.
The American Civil Liberties Union has announced that it will file a lawsuit against the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice on behalf of organizations including Wikimedia (the parent company of Wikipedia) and the Rutherford Institute, over the government’s mass surveillance program.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government will reach its borrowing limit in October or November, after exhausting emergency measures to keep the debt below the limit as long as possible. Without the emergency measures, the growing federal debt would hit the ceiling by the middle of this month. But Republicans who had hoped to use the debt ceiling debate as leverage to pass spending cuts were disappointed to learn that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already assured the Dems that the GOP would not threaten a default or government shutdown.
The Supreme Court appeared to be divided during opening arguments in the King v. Burwell case over the legality of the ObamaCare subsidies. A decision in the case is expected by the end of June, and would potentially impact eight million people.
President Obama has indicated an interest in using executive action to raise taxes, once again proposing to circumvent Congress to advance his own agenda. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday that the president was “very interested” in doing so, purportedly to benefit the middle class.
The Treasury Department is raising eyebrows with its refusal to explain $3 billion in ObamacCre payments to health insurers that were not authorized by Congress. The department has denied a request by House Ways and Means Chairman Representative Paul Ryan for an explanation.