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Budget Bill Excludes "Tax Expenditure" Provisions

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Lawmakers have kept any direct references to life, health or retirement tax provisions out of the Budget Control Act of 2011 bill.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., hammered out the bill in an effort to raise the official U.S. debt limit and eliminate the possibility that the United States might start defaulting on debt payments as early as Tuesday.

Boehner and Reid have packaged the bill in the form of House Resolution 384 — – a measure “providing for consideration of S. 365, to make a technical amendment to the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.”

Members of the House today voted 269-161 to pass House Resolution 384.

The Senate has agreed to conduct a roll-call vote on a motion to concur with the House resolution at noon Tuesday.

Supporters need 60 votes to get the motion through the Senate.

“No amendments, points of order or other motions will be in order to the message prior to the vote,” according to a note posted on the Senate Democrats’ website.

The main victims of H. Res. 384 would be graduate students: If H. Res. 384 is passed and implemented as written, graduate and professional students would lose the ability to take out subsidized Stafford loans beginning July 1, 2012.

But H. Res. 384 does not call for any specific changes in tax provisions, and it allocates hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding to help the Social Security Administration speed up Social Security Disability Insurance reviews and redeterminations for eligibility.

The resolution would provide an immediate $400 billion increase in the debt limit, and then allow the debt to rise an additional $1.7 trillion to $2 trillion.

In exchange, party leaders in the House and Senate would each have to appoint 3 members to a 12-person budget cutting committee would have to produce at least $1.2 trillion in budget cuts by Nov. 23.

If Congress did not meet the $1.2 trillion deficit reduction goals, then the resolution would impose across-the-board reductions, with half affecting “security programs,” such as the U.S. Defense Department, and half affecting other types of programs, such as the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Other federal budget coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health: