DC Digest – May 5, 2017

In Today’s Issue:
  • One Budget Down, Another to Come
  • Healthcare Moves to the Senate


Seven months into fiscal 2017, bipartisan leaders clinched a spending deal Sunday night, April 30, to fund the government through September. Having been passed by both the House and now the Senate, the omnibus moves to President Trump’s desk for signature. For a reminder of what is in the spending bill, refer to our Digest from earlier this week.

Budget Highlights

‘Fat’ Budget

The deal is being wrapped up just as the president’s budget blueprint for fiscal 2018 lands. Trump’s full budget blueprint is set to debut the week of May 22. That document is expected to enumerate his proposed domestic cuts and $54 billion military boost.

I Sprint Marathons

Appropriators have exactly 150 days on the clock to hold hearings, draft language and reach a deal on the FY18 spending bills before the Sept. 30 deadline. That’s about one-third the amount of time it took lawmakers to finalize the bills for 2017.

Higher Elucidation

The White House’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal is expected to provide insight into where the Trump administration wants to take higher education policy. The “skinny budget” released earlier this year calls for $9 billion in cuts to the Education Department’s $68 billion annual funding.

Student Loans

On the campaign trail, Trump had called for an income-based repayment plan that is in some ways more generous than what was enacted by the Obama administration. The proposed budget could also spell out what the administration wants to do with student loan servicing after it repealed Obama-era efforts to boost customer service and protections for student borrowers.

Civil Rights

The budget will also be the first time the Trump administration weighs in on funding for the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. The department has previously said it needed more funding to keep up with the flood of cases, notably those involving campus sexual assault.


Republicans successfully furthered their bill to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act through the House Thursday, May 4 in a 217 to 213 vote, with 20 Republicans voting ‘no’ on the measure.

The Senate is likely to write its own version of the bill.  “‘We’re writing a Senate bill and not passing the House bill,’ said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP).

“Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours, going to be debated three or four hours, not scored? Needs to be viewed with suspicion” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said shortly before the House vote was scheduled.

For a list of key players in Senatorial healthcare reform, see below:

HELPing Hands 

For the most up-to-date version of the text and its amendments, see below: