Returning from the Thanksgiving break, the Senate Budget Committee voted yesterday to approve, on a party line (12-11), the GOP Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  The legislation now moves to the floor of the Senate for consideration where a robust debate and multiple amendments are anticipated later this week.

The bill continues to include troubling provisions for health care including repealing the individual insurance mandate and elimination of the ability of nonprofit hospitals to execute “advance refundings” of outstanding tax-exempt bonds.  If the Senate passes the bill, the next step will be for a conference committee to attempt to “iron out” differences between the House-passed version.  President Trump has reiterated he would like a tax bill on his desk by the end of year.

With attention focused on the tax bill, a number of other legislative initiatives have been placed on the back burner including reauthorizing the CHIP program, DSH and Extenders package.  In addition, funding for the government is set to expire on Dec. 8.  The presumption is that a short-term continuing resolution (CR) will be passed to avoid a government shutdown, allowing additional time to take action on these important issues.  The 115th Congress was originally scheduled to conclude by Dec. 15, however estimates now have them working through the end of year and possibly continuing into 2018.