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49 Soc. Sec. Bull. 22 (1986)
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985

handle is hein.journals/ssbul49 and id is 568 raw text is: Consolidated Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act of 1985
by Mary Ross and Carol Hayes*

This article briefly describes the legislative history of the old-
age, survivors, and disability insurance (OASDI) and supplemental
security income (SSI) provisions, as well as related Medicare and
Medicaid provisions, of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Recon-
ciliation Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-272). It includes a chronol-
ogy outlining the interaction of the budget reconciliation process
with the development of the OASDI minor and technical changes
bill (H.R. 2005) and the development of other social security re-
lated legislation resulting in proposals that ultimately combined in
the overall Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of
1985. The article also provides a detailed summary of the provi-
sions of the legislation.

On April 7, 1986, President Reagan signed into law
H.R. 3128 (Public Law 99-272), the Consolidated
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).
The new law, which is the result of the congressional
budget process, makes hundreds of changes in Federal
programs to reduce the deficit in accordance with the
budget decisions (S.Con.Res. 32) adopted by both the
House and the Senate on August 1, 1985. It also includes
a number of provisions affecting the old-age, survivors,
and disability insurance (OASDI) and supplemental
security income (SSI) programs, most of which have little
or no budget impact. This article will deal only with social
security related provisions.
The social security related provisions of COBRA come
essentially from three sources: (1) OASDI proposals
developed by the House Ways and Means Committee and
passed by the House in H.R. 2005 on May 14, 1985; (2)
OASDI and SSI proposals added in the Senate; and (3)
social security related proposals developed as part of the
budget reconciliation process and combined into the
legislation enacted as COBRA.
The chronology on page 23 gives some indication of
how the various bills and separate committee actions on
deficit reduction legislation and (after final adoption of the
First Concurrent Resolution) budget reconciliation
proposals were ultimately combined in the overall COBRA
legislation. Although the basic package of social security
technical provisions was passed by the House in May
1985, this package was included in the Omnibus Budget
bill and was not finally acted upon by Congress until
*Ms. Ross is Director of the Legislative Reference Office, Office of
Legislative and Regulatory Policy, Social Security Administration. Ms.
Hayes is on the staff of the Legislative Reference Office.

March 1986, after the first round of outlay reductions
under the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings process had taken
In general, the various delays in actions leading to
enactment of COBRA were not directly related to the
social security provisions in the legislation. For example,
there was considerable controversy in the fall of 1985
concerning superfund provisions (relating to a tax on
manufacturers to pay for an expanded toxic-waste cleanup
program) and provisions for taxes on tobacco products. In
addition, in the fall of 1985, tax reform legislation, civil
service retirement legislation, debt ceiling legislation, and
the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings balanced budget amendment
required considerable congressional attention. There was
also controversy concerning Medicare and aid to families
with dependent children (AFDC) provisions that are not
discussed in this article.
Earlier in the congressional budget process, there was
some delay because of the lengthy House-Senate
conference to resolve differences in the versions of the
First Concurrent Budget Resolution passed by the House
and the Senate. Among other differences between the two
versions of the resolution, the Senate-passed resolution
contemplated substantial budget reductions due to a 1-year
freeze in the social security cost-of-living adjustment
(COLA), to which the House conferees were unwilling to
agree. 1
'The House-Senate conference agreement on the budget resolution,
which was adopted by both Houses on August 1, did not call for any
change in the social security or SSI COLA, but did contain a recommen-
dation to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees to
report legislation to limit the amount of social security benefits paid to il-
legal and nonresident aliens. No subsequent action was taken on this
nonbinding recommendation.

22                          Social Security Bulletin, August 1986/Vol. 49, No. 8

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