What is S. 610?
(Updated March 9, 2022)
This bill was enacted on December 10, 2021
This bill — known as the Protecting Medicare & American Famers from Sequester Cuts Act — would temporarily suspend sequestration budget cuts to Medicare and other programs; delay pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) cuts related to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan relief package on the PAYGO scorecard until 2023; and create a one-time process to allow subsequent legislation to raise raise the debt limit to be considered by the Senate on an expedited basis.
Argument in favor
Congress needs to avoid the automatic budget cuts triggered by sequestration and the PAYGO rules stemming from Democrats’ $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, in addition to raising the debt limit. This bill would delay those budget cuts while streamlining the process for raising the debt limit on this occasion.
Congress is once again having to delay automatic budget cuts that are set to be triggered because of Democrats’ excessive spending that wasn’t paid for. Democrats should use the budget reconciliation process to raise the debt limit rather than having Congress create a one-time, expedited process for hiking it.
Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors; the national debt; the PAYGO scorecard; and federal budget sequestration.
Cost of S. 610
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In-Depth: House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) said during the committee’s hearing that this package will “help us take care of some of our most pressing business. This includes setting up a process in the Senate to raise the debt ceiling, clearing the PAYGO scorecard, and preventing doctors from facing looming Medicare reimbursement cuts.” He added:
“Democrats and Republicans have done all three of these things in a bipartisan way many times in the past, no matter who controlled Congress. And we should be able to come together and get them done now.”
House Rules Committee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) offered the following statement in opposition to this bill during the committee’s hearing:
“While most members on both sides of the aisle would agree that a resolution to this problem is necessary, I feel that today’s bill is a missed opportunity for bipartisanship. Instead of a clean bipartisan deal, we have a bill which includes provisions addressing the debt ceiling and delaying the PAYGO cuts from the Democrats’ partisan reconciliation bill earlier this year into the future. It’s disappointing that Democratic leadership in the House and Senate waited until this point to address the debt ceiling. Since the summer, Republicans have made it very clear that if the Majority continues to choose to spend large amounts of taxpayer dollars through partisan reconciliation bills, then the Majority should also use that power to increase the debt limit on their own through reconciliation. Their failure to do so has placed the House in an awful and awkward position, resulting in today’s unfortunate bill.”
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Douglas Rissing)
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