On May 16, 2012, the Senate failed to pass five different budget
proposals, thus ensuring Congress will not enact a budget this
year. Congressional budgets are non-binding documents and as such
do not require the President's approval. This is by no means
the first time in recent history where Congress has failed to pass
a budget, though the failure of chambers to do so often makes for
good political theater. Here's a summary of the five proposals
that failed to garner enough support to proceed:
In a highly political move, Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff
Session's (R-AL) offered a version of President's
Obama's budget, which failed by a vote of 0-99 (roll call vote). In March during the
deliberations of the House Budget, Rep. Mulvaney (R-SC) offered a
similar amendment which failed by a 0-414 vote (roll call vote).
On March 29, 2012, by a vote of 228-191 (roll call vote) the House passed a budget
authored by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). This budget would
repeal the Affordable Care Act and provided for an overhaul of the
Medicare and Medicaid programs. Under the Ryan Budget, the Medicare
program would be transitioned into a "premium support"
model where private companies would compete against traditional
fee-for-service Medicare and beneficiaries would receive a
risk-adjusted subsidy to help pay for their coverage. The Medicaid
program would be converted into a block grant program.
As part of their budget votes, the Senate brought up the
House-passed budget, which failed by a 41-58 vote (roll call vote), with five Republicans joining
all Democrats in rejecting the budget.
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) offered a budget proposal similar to
the proposal he offered last year. This year's proposal would
repeal the ACA and included some entitlement reforms including
means testing of the Medicare program, enacting a Medicare premium
support-model, and block granting the Medicaid program.
The Toomey budget failed by a vote of 42-57 (roll call vote), with all Democrats and four
Republicans voting against the measure.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered a budget proposal that would
balance the budget in five years by significantly reducing federal
spending. His budget proposal would repeal the Affordable Care Act
and block grant the Medicaid, SCHIP, food stamp, and child
nutrition programs. Under his proposal, the Medicare program would
be eliminated and replaced with a plan to provide subsidized health
care coverage to seniors.
Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Rand Paul
(R-KY) offered a conservative budget proposal modeled on the
Heritage Foundation's "Saving the American Dream"
plan. The proposal would repeal the Affordable Care Act and
replaced it with a tax credit individuals could use to purchase
health care. Medicare would be transformed into a defined
contribution premium support plan, Medicaid would be block-granted
and Social Security would be altered to provide an "income
adjusted" monthly benefit to recipients.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously ruled that the Davis-Bacon Act does not require payment of prevailing wages on public-private partnerships where the U.S. or D.C. government is not a party to the construction contract and where the government is not the owner of the resulting project.
Last week, a California State Court became the first in the nation to rule that a retailer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act due to a website that is not accessible to individuals with vision-related disabilities.
Yet another federal court has rejected a False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit brought under an implied certification theory, finding that non-compliance with federal laws and regulations that are not express conditions of payment cannot form the grounds for a FCA suit.
Federal contractors that employ blanket criminal background check policies that discriminate against or disproportionately impact a protected class are facing heat from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
On February 25, 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a $4 million civil penalty against the Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust Company of Coral Gables, Florida, for willful violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.