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Congress passes budget bill, what does it mean for employers?

Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. President Obama released a statement Friday morning applauding Democrats and Republicans for their passing votes.

“I applaud the Democrats and Republicans who came together this morning to pass a responsible, long-term budget agreement that reflects our values, grows our economy and creates jobs,” President Obama said in the statement. “This agreement is a reminder that Washington can still choose to help, rather than hinder, America’s progress.”

The big picture on the bill approved a two-year budget deal that would increase spending limits and avert a damging default.

RELATED: Senate approves two year bipartisan budget agreement

What does the budget bill mean for employers?

The bill repealed the Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring employers with more than 20 employees to automatically enroll a ful-time employee in a health plan if overage wasn’t voluntarily chosen or declined by an employee. However, since 2012 regulators have not put great emphasis on the provision.

“Striking this redundant requirement off the books puts health decision-making back in the hands of American workers and their families, and provides employers with relief from potentially problematic and burdensome regulations,” Christine Pollack, vice president of government affairs at Retail Industry Leaders, told Employe Benefit Adviser. The RILA is a trade association representing more than 200 of the world’s largest retail companies, including Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Apple.

The bill also provides that the single-employer fixed Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premium would be raised to $68 for 2017, $73 for 2018 and $78 for 2019, and then re-indexed for inflation. The bill also bumps the due date up to the ninth calendar month beginning on or after the first day of the premium payment year. It was the tenth calendar month.

RELATED: Changes employers would see with the budget bill