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S.Con.Res. 3: A concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2017 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2018 through 2026.

Jan 12, 2017 at 1:05 a.m. ET. On the Concurrent Resolution in the Senate.

This was a vote to agree to S.Con.Res. 3 (115th) in the Senate.

It’s no secret that the President and congressional Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Their main method of preparing to do so is Senate Concurrent Resolution 3 which passed the Senate and House in early January 2017.

What the resolution does

Introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, the primary reason it gained attention is as the main congressional blueprint for Republicans to repeal the health care law. And passage of this concurrent resolution allows for a procedure called reconciliation, which prevents a bill from getting filibustered and restricts the number of bill amendments which can be offered. (The bill’s legal purpose is actually to set the congressional budget level for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as intended budget levels for the subsequent 10 fiscal years. More on that later.)

It also requires the relevant committees in both the Senate and House to introduce repeal legislation by Friday, January 27. Attempts by some Republicans to move back that date, in some cases by several months, ultimately failed. Concerns are rising as the party has yet to coalesce around a replacement plan, with Trump saying he won’t reveal the specifics of his administration’s plan until his Secretary of Health and Human Services is confirmed, while several competing Republican replacement plans introduced by members of Congress jockey for frontrunner status.

A concurrent resolution is a type of congressional legislation that does not need a presidential signature because it does not have the force of law.

What supporters and opponents say

Supporters argue the resolution is a necessary move to get rid of a law that they contend has removed freedom of choice in doctors and insurance plans, burdened the economy through skyrocketing premiums, and interfered unnecessarily with the American medical system.

“Congressional approval of this resolution is an important first step in building a bridge from Obamacare’s broken promises to better health care for all Americans,” lead sponsor Enzi said in a statement. “This resolution will help provide relief from Obamacare that millions of Americans have long demanded, while also ensuring a stable transition in which those with insurance will not lose access to their health care coverage.”

Opponents argue the health care law has dramatically lowered the uninsured rate, saved lives, and that the replacement would likely leave many people even worse off than the status quo.

“The vote taken in Congress today is nothing short of irresponsible. It puts in jeopardy the lives of millions of Americans just for the sake of a political victory,” Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA35) said in a statement shortly after the House vote. “For years, we have heard Republicans talk about repealing and replacing, but to this day we have not seen a single workable plan to replace the ACA.”

The vote count, and why some Republicans voted against

The resolution passed the Senate 51–48, with no Democrats in favor and only one Republican against: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Make no mistake, it’s not because Paul supports the Affordable Care Act, but because he felt the legislation didn’t go far enough in balancing the budget overall. “Putting nearly $10 trillion more in debt on the American people’s backs through a budget that never balances is not the way to get there,” Paul said in a statement after the vote. “It is the exact opposite of the change Republicans promised, and I cannot support it, even as a placeholder.”

The resolution then passed the House 227–198. Similar to the Senate vote, no Democrats were in favor and nine Republicans voted against. Similar to Sen. Paul, many of the nine are Freedom Caucus members who argue the legislation did not go far enough. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA6), Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, recused himself from the vote.

The budget estimates

As mentioned earlier, the actual overall purpose of the bill — besides just the health care repeal element earning the most notoriety — is to set federal budget levels. Although these are subject to change, under the legislation the upcoming fiscal year would have a total budget of $3.3 trillion. This amount would rise each year, up to $4.9 trillion a decade from now.

Federal revenues, meanwhile, would total $2.7 trillion in this upcoming fiscal year. That figure too would rise each year, up to $3.9 trillion a decade from now.

Every single year, federal outlays would surpass federal expenditures, creating deficits and adding to the national debt. The deficit would total $582 billion in the upcoming fiscal year, rising in most — though not all — of the subsequent years, until totalling $1 trillion a decade from now.


All Votes R D I
Yea 52%
Nay 48%
Not Voting

Concurrent Resolution Agreed to. Simple Majority Required. Source:

The Yea votes represented 44% of the country’s population by apportioning each state’s population to its voting senators.

Ideology Vote Chart

Republican - Yea Republican - Nay Democrat - Nay
Seat position based on our ideology score.

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Study Guide

How well do you understand this vote? Use this study guide to find out.

You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page. For a guide to understanding the resolution this vote was about, see here.

What was the procedure for this vote?

  1. What was this vote on?
  2. Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.

    This vote is related to a resolution. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what it is about. Congress makes many decisions in the process of passing legislation, such as on the procedures for debating the resolution, whether to change the resolution before voting on passage, and even whether to vote on passage at all.

    You can learn more about the various motions used in Congress at If you aren’t sure what the Senate was voting on, try seeing if it’s on this list.

  3. What is the next step after this vote?
  4. Take a look at where this resolution is in the legislative process. What might come next? Keep in mind what this specific vote was on, and the context of the resolution. Will there be amendments? Will the other chamber of Congress vote on it, or let it die?

    For this question it may help to briefly examine the resolution itself.

What is your analysis of this vote?

  1. What trends do you see in this vote?
  2. Members of Congress side together for many reasons beside being in the same political party, especially so for less prominent legislation or legislation specific to a certain region. What might have determined how the roll call came out in this case? Does it look like Members of Congress voted based on party, geography, or some other reason?

  3. How did your senators vote?
  4. There are two votes here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your senators, which are meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your senators voted? Why do you think they voted the way they did?

    If you don’t already know who your Members of Congress are you can find them by entering your address here.

  5. How much of the United States population is represented by the yeas?
  6. GovTrack displays the percentage of the United States population represented by the yeas on some Senate votes just under the vote totals. We do this to highlight how the people of the United States are represented in the Senate. Since each state has two senators, but state populations vary significantly, the individuals living in each state have different Senate representation. For example, California’s population of near 40 million is given the same number of senators as Wyoming’s population of about 600,000.

    Do the senators who voted yea represent a majority of the people of the United States? Does it matter?

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