Issue: S. 610, Modifies Senate procedures for increasing the debt limit camouflaged as a bill providing for behavioral health and other (see below). Question: On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to S. 610).
Result: Agreed to 59 to 35, 6 not voting. Agreed to by the House, Roll Call 404, 12-7-21. Became Public Law 117-71 (signed by the President, 12-10-21). (Passed Congress listed as the “Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act.”) GOP and Democrats scored.
Freedom First Society: Provides a one-time change in the Senate procedure for voting to raise the debt limit. Would make it politically easier to enable continued dangerously excessive government. No effort was made to curtail unconstitutional spending and live within our means.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Congressional Research Service Summary:
Passed House (12/07/2021)
Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act
This bill makes several budgetary, technical, and procedural changes, particularly in relation to Medicare and increasing the debt limit.
Specifically, the bill continues to exempt Medicare from sequestration until March 31, 2022. (Sequestration is a process of automatic, usually across-the-board spending reductions under which budgetary resources are permanently cancelled to enforce specific budget policy goals.)
The bill also establishes expedited Senate procedures for considering legislation to increase the debt limit. The procedures limit debate, waive points of order, and prohibit amendments. The procedures may only be used once and expire after January 16, 2022.
Additionally, the bill (1) temporarily extends other provisions under Medicare, including a payment increase under the physician fee schedule; and (2) requires any debits recorded for FY2022 on the statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) scorecards to be deducted from the scorecards for 2022 and added to the scorecards for 2023.
FFS Analysis: Here is how Roll Call (12-10-21) “Senate clears expedited debt limit process, Medicare cuts delay” reported on the congressional action:
“Final passage came after a critical procedural vote, in which 14 Republicans joined all Democrats on a cloture motion to limit debate. That bipartisan cooperation — on a deal brokered by Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — cleared the way for Democrats to be able to increase the debt limit on their own and avoid a fiscal crisis.”
“On their own”— bah! By clearing the way, those Republicans have responsibility. The report continued:
“‘The proposal I worked on with Leader McConnell will allow Democrats to do precisely what we’ve been seeking to do for months… provide a simple majority vote to fix the debt ceiling without having to resort to a convoluted, lengthy and ultimately risky process,’ Schumer said.”
“Fix the debt ceiling”? So Congress can find it politically easier to spend our money without that “temporary” restraint?
Americans need a Congress that is accountable to the people and the Constitution. Rather than raising the debt ceiling so we can add more debt, how about rolling back unconstitutional spending and programs so government can limit, even pay down, the debt?