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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Senate to Vote on Hundreds of Amendments to Budget Resolution

March 26, 2015 | Federal Budget | Comments
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This morning, the Senate kicked-off a “vote-o-rama” on the 2016 budget resolution during which they will vote on hundreds of amendments. Though the budget resolution does not have the force of law, it does outline the constraints within which the appropriations committees must allocate funding for the year ahead. It may also include instructions to congressional committees to consider specific policy changes that could have sweeping effects on programs that support mental health and addiction treatment providers.

The National Council is tracking amendments as they are submitted. Below is a brief selection of noteworthy amendments – both potentially problematic and potentially beneficial for National Council members. Some of these amendments will never see a vote; others may be taken up and passed or rejected. Readers who wish to voice their opinion on any of these amendments with their Senators may contact their offices by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202)-224-4771.

Selected problematic amendments:

Amendment 368 – Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) and Amendment 539 – Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)–To establish Medicaid waiver overrides, block grants and per capita caps.

Amendment 372 – Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) – To allow states to adopt work requirements and drug tests as a condition of beneficiaries receiving public benefits.

Amendment 514 – Senator David Vitter (R-LA) – To allow states to adopt work requirements as a condition receiving public benefits.

Amendment 921 – Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) – To allow the federal government to negotiate prices for medications in Medicare Part D, undermining Part D’s competitive structure and potentially restricting access to critical medications for millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Selected beneficial amendments:

Amendment 386 – Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – To preserve funding for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Amendment 420 – Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Amendment 578 – Senator Joe Manchin (R-WV) – To combat heroin and methamphetamine abuse.

Amendment 486 – Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) – To improve and enhance mental health education and access to treatment.

Amendment 702 – Senator Jeanne Shaheen – (D-NH) – To combat heroin addiction.

Amendment 703 – Senator Jeanne Shaheen – (D-NH) – To support drug treatment courts.

Amendment 704 -Senator Jeanne Shaheen – (D-NH) – To support veterans treatment courts.

Amendment 707 – Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) – To reduce opioid and heroin overdose deaths.

Track the progress of these and other amendments here!