The House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday passed a trio of bills that would produce budget savings.
The committee approved the measures almost exclusively on party-line votes. The votes came one day after House Republicans unveiled a trillion-dollar budget that has drawn concerns from fiscal hawks because of its spending levels.
One of the bills would require people who receive overpayments of ObamaCare exchange subsidies to repay them. Another would require taxpayers claiming refundable child tax credits to provide Social Security numbers. The third would end the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin BradyOvernight Finance: Trump blasts Carrier's union leader | What's in the spending bill | Jamie Dimon gets perch for Trump era | AT&T, Time Warner execs grilled Koch Industries warns about 'devastating' House GOP tax plan provision Chairman: Trump can play ‘key role’ in tax reform push MORE (R-Texas) said the bills would save $16.5 billion over two years and $98 billion over 10 years.
“Each and every single one of our bills is simply a common sense, good government solution that everyone could support,” he said.
He added that “there should be absolutely nothing controversial about confirming a person actually qualifies for a tax credit, reimbursing taxpayers and ending government duplication.”
Democrats on the committee said that the budget cuts would hurt children, seniors and low- and middle-income families who are trying to stay out of poverty.
A press release committee Democrats put out ahead of the vote said that as many as 250,000 people could lose their health insurance under the ObamaCare-related bill, nearly 30 million Americans would be hurt if the SSBG was ended, and 3 million children would no longer receive the refundable child tax credit if Social Security numbers were required.
The top Democrat on the committee, Sandy Levin of Michigan, said the committee should focus on legislation that strengthens anti-poverty programs rather than “tearing these very programs apart.”
“Why is this being done today? It is a tactic aimed at softening the hardest-liners threatening the Republican budget — throw them some bones, in this case some big ones — even though they’ve already said that they will ultimately not support the budget,” Levin said.
When Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) was asked for her vote on the child tax credit bill, she said, “hell no.”
In addition to the three bills aimed at budget savings, the Ways and Means Committee also passed a bipartisan bill by voice vote that would support states implementing a national electronic system that expedites placing foster children across state lines.