Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks

Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks

Senate Democrats are offering to repeal a controversial ObamaCare tax as part of a government funding deal as negotiations go on through the weekend. 


A congressional aide familiar with the talks told The Hill that Democratic negotiators had put repeal of the Cadillac tax “on the table in the appropriations negotiations.” 


The aide added that the offer was made as part of “broader negotiations” and that there are “several things still unresolved” in the spending talks. 


ObamaCare’s Cadillac tax, which has never gone into effect, was meant to keep health care costs down by discouraging overly-generous “Cadillac” health insurance plans.


The House voted to repeal the Cadillac tax earlier this year in an overwhelming 419-6 vote. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the nixing the tax would cost $196.9 billion over 10 years. 


The tax, without action from Congress, is currently set to go into effect in 2022. 


The offer from Senate Democrats comes as negotiators, and their staff, are currently working through the weekend as they try to reach a deal on the fiscal 2020 spending talks. 


Lawmakers have until Dec. 20 to either pass the 12 fiscal 2020 funding bills or a stopgap spending patch, known as a continuing resolution (CR). 


Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyDemocrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks On The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal MORE (R-Ala.) spoke with President Trump on Thursday night about the funding negotiations. A spokeswoman for Shelby didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday about the offer from Democrats. 


Lawmakers still have several hurdles to getting a deal on the fiscal 2020 bills. The biggest sticking point, according to negotiators, is the U.S.-Mexico border wall. 


The House included no new funding for physical barriers in its Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bill, while the Senate’s legislation includes $5 billion for the border. 


Negotiators are also haggling over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) beds and Trump’s ability to shift military funds to the border wall. 


If Congress and the White House can’t reach a deal in time, they’ll need to pass another CR to avoid a shutdown. 


House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence: It’s not a “foregone conclusion” that lawmakers impeach Trump Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday’s House Judiciary hearing MORE (D-Calif.) said during a CNN town hall that while she did not expect a shutdown, any CR, if necessary, would be brief. 


“We would just to go to a [continuing] resolution until couple, you know, until after Christmas,” she said at a CNN town hall Thursday night. 

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