On Thursday morning, October 26, the House of Representatives narrowly approved the Senate’s version of the fiscal year 2018 budget, House Concurrent Resolution 71, as amended by the Senate. The 216-212 vote permits many UPMA members to breathe a sigh of relief for the next few months, since the Senate budget excluded the cuts that were included in the original House-passed budget. However, beginning in January, Congress will renew its assault against federal and postal health and retirement benefits. The reason for the prospective threat is that H.Con.Res 71 adds $1.5 trillion to the federal budget deficit to finance the tax cuts included in the tax reform bill currently under consideration by the House Ways and Means Committee.
According to Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, “half a dozen Budget Committee members, as well as a few other fiscal hawks in the GOP conference [who were interviewed] anticipate mandatory spending cuts being a priority for the fiscal year 2019 budget reconciliation process.” UPMA legislative activists know that Federal and postal health and retirement benefits are “mandatory spending” programs.