Just before 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, following more than 13 hours of debate on 70 amendments, the Senate passed their fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 8). The resolution passed 50-49. This is the first time the Senate has passed a budget resolution in four years.
In total the Senate considered over 100 amendments touching on range of policy areas. As the budget resolution is non-binding and does not carry the weight of law, the votes on these amendments can be viewed as political posturing or “test votes” on future legislation.
In regard to health policy, notable amendments included one introduced by Senator Hatch (R-UT) calling for the repeal of the medical device tax (approved by a vote of 79-20) and rejection of an amendment offered by Senator Cruz (R-TX) calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (voted down by a vote of 45-54). Additionally, the Senate voted down an amendment on the House GOP Budget Plan (40-59) and voted on a number of Medicare-related issues. The CQ article “Senators Register Health Policy Positions in Budget Votes” (subscription required) provides an overview of health-related amendments considered.