Chairman Yarmuth Introduces Legislative Fix to Avert Sequestration

Mar 12, 2021
Chairman Yarmuth: “[I]f Republicans play political games and don’t do their jobs, Medicare and the seniors that depend on it will pay the price.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Kentucky Representative John Yarmuth, Chair of the House Budget Committee, introduced legislation to preclude cuts to Medicare, farm supports, and other programs subject to sequestration. The legislation, “To prevent across-the-board direct spending cuts, and for other purposes” (H.R. 1868), was cosponsored by Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal.

The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act requires across-the-board cuts (sequestration) to a defined set of programs if certain legislation affecting mandatory spending or revenues increases net deficits. Legislation that Congress designates as an emergency or otherwise excludes from the PAYGO scorecard does not trigger sequestration. Restrictions on the content of reconciliation bills prevented the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 from including a provision to avert sequestration.

The bill introduced today will protect Medicare and other programs from PAYGO sequestration. The bill also extends a separate Medicare sequester relief provision, first enacted in the CARES Act, that expires March 31, and it makes technical corrections to other provisions enacted in previous COVID relief legislation.

“The legislation I introduced today is largely technical fixes and sequestration adjustments that have historically been bipartisan and noncontroversial,” said Chairman Yarmuth. “When Republicans used reconciliation to pass tax cuts for the rich, Democrats voted with them to avoid sequestration and protect Medicare and other programs despite our strong opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This legislation should have the same outcome, but if Republicans play political games and don't do their jobs, Medicare and the seniors that depend on it will pay the price."

Read the legislative text here.

Read the Section-by-Section here.

Read more about Statutory PAYGO here.


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