With Senator John McCain off the Graham-Cassidy train, the Affordable Care Act lives another day. But while this should be a weekend of celebration for ACA supporters, remember that Republicans still may have another chance to gut the ACA before the November 2018 midterms.
The much-discussed September 30 deadline to pass a health care bill by a simple majority vote is a deadline with respect to the Fiscal Year 2017 reconciliation instructions. But the next day, Fiscal Year 2018 begins. And with a new fiscal year comes a new opportunity to pass legislation that will throw millions of people off Medicaid and private-sector health insurance.
Section 301 of the Budget Act (2 U.S.C. § 632) directs Congress to pass a budget resolution for each fiscal year. Section 310 (2 U.S.C. § 641) allows that resolution to include reconciliation instructions to House and Senate committees. A bill that carries out those reconciliation instructions can pass the Senate by a simple majority vote, with limited debate and without the possibility of a filibuster.
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