Until late Friday afternoon, it looked like the House would pass a three-week continuing resolution, the Senate would approve it, and President Obama would sign it, and it would at least be better than a shutdown, according to Politico.
White House aides were paying attention to their vote, but not with a lot of suspense.
Then the House fumbled its funding bill, and suddenly White House and DHS officials were running around trying to figure out the next move.
By late Friday night, the sense of crisis passed as it became clear that the solution would be a one-week continuing resolution to keep the department’s doors open, for a while.
The House passed the one-week bill around 10 p.m., less than two hours after the Senate approved it. Obama signed the seven-day bill before midnight.
The legislation also leaves intact Obama administration executive actions on immigration, though Republicans have vowed to defund it.
The outcome means the White House and DHS will have to be prepared for another crisis in just a week, according to Politico.
According to Mother Jones, now that Republicans control Congress, they’re again threatening to end Obamacare. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed to hold a repeal vote when Republicans take over the upper chamber in January, adding that GOPers “will go at that law…in every way that we can.”
Obamacare is not going anywhere as long as President Barack Obama is in office. But there is a sneakier way GOPers could deal a blow to the health care law in the next two years: They can make the law look more costly than it is, boosting the case for dismantling it.
In 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)—which produces official budget projections—calculated that the combined effect of the tax increases and spending cuts in the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit by $109 billion over the next decade. (This is the CBO’s most recent estimate.)
Conservatives cried foul, saying that the CBO double-counted savings in the law and ignored billions in health care spending in order to make the economic effects of the law seem rosier than they were. They charged that Obamacare actually adds billions to the deficit.
But how does health care spending affect the deficit? Only the Medicaid expansion is government run insurance. The insurance on the exchanges is from private companies, so that wouldn’t affect the government budget.
In the UK, George Osborne – a British Conservative Party politician – proposed a freeze on working-age welfare benefits if the Conservatives are elected in 2015. But its effect may cause some to reflect.
The Chancellor calculates that it will save £3.2 billion over two years, 2016/17 and 2017/18. Treasury figures suggest the total welfare bill across those two years will be roughly £356 billion – so the saving would amount to about 0.9% of the total.
To put it another way, the freeze would not affect 99.1% of welfare spending. Nevertheless, £3 billion is not an insignificant sum and some will argue it would be an important contribution to cutting the deficit.
The question, however, is whether the real-terms cut targets the right people. Around two-thirds of those affected by the freeze are in working households.
Government figures show that some 67% of those receiving child or working tax credits are designated to be “in-work families”. Most of those in receipt of child benefit will also be working.
It will also hit some of the poorest families in Britain. Income Support, which is included in the freeze, is a benefit specifically targeted at the poor. Child benefit can be the difference between just getting by and going without the basics for some low-income families.