ObamaCare Repeal Effort Pushed Through Senate
September 20, 2017
GOP Senators Graham and Cassidy continue pushing Obamacare repeal effort; Senate Republicans Agree to Move Forward on $1.5 trillion tax cut over next 10 years; U.S. existing home sales decrease 1.7 percent.
- GOP Senators Graham and Cassidy continue pushing Obamacare repeal effort. The Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress continue to push on an all-in last-ditch-effort to repeal ObamaCare. They would need 50 Republican votes before the upcoming deadline of Sept. 30 in order to pass it. After Sept. 30, the bill would need 60 votes to pass. Under the special rules, 50 votes and a tie-breaker from Pence would send it to the House. The bill, led by co-sponsors Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would dismantle ObamaCare and convert its funding to block grants to states, allowing them to design their own programs. Democrats warn the block grants would lead to cuts in Medicaid and other health care spending. The bill would also allow states to waive ObamaCare policies, including prohibiting people with pre-existing conditions from being charged higher premiums. [The Hill]
- Senate Republicans Agree to Move Forward on $1.5 trillion tax cut over next 10 years. Senate Republicans agreed on Tuesday on a budget that would add to the federal deficit to allow for a $1.5 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years. The Republican lawmakers say that a tax cut of this magnitude will stimulate economic growth to offset a deficit impact. Passing a budget resolution is crucial to allow Republicans to push this tax overhaul through the Senate with a simple majority and without the support of Democrats. Even with Tuesday’s deal, the full Senate still needs to vote on the budget and align it with the House version, which was voted out of committee earlier this year. However, any tax cut may be temporary. Existing Senate rules say that Republicans can pass legislation with a simple majority only if the bill is not found to add to the deficit after 10 years. [NYTimes]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. existing home sales decrease 1.7 percent. Sales of previously owned U.S. homes decreased to a one-year low in August, with affordability hampering demand and Hurricane Harvey decreasing the number of Houston-area purchases, according to a National Association of Realtors report. Contract closings fell 1.7% month over month to a 5.35 million annual sales rate. Purchases in the Houston area decreased 25% year over year; without Harvey’s effect, sales would have been “flat,” according to the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. While Harvey affected the Houston area specifically, purchase activity has also decreased to rising home prices and declining affordability. Even before the storms, home price growth exceeded wage gains due to lean inventory. [Bloomberg]