The House passed its 2018 budget resolution Thursday (with 18 Reps voting against) crossing the first threshold toward its goal of sending tax reform legislation to President Trump.
As WaPo reports, the House budget resolution includes major spending cuts demanded by the party's conservative wing, but the party's focus is now on passing a tax bill that could add as much as $1.5 trillion to the budget deficit. Special procedures set out in the legislation would ultimately allow Republicans to pass the bill over a potential Democratic filibuster in the Senate.
"Our budget specifically paves the way for pro-growth tax reform that will reduce taxes for middle class Americans and free up American businesses to grow and hire," House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said during floor debate.
In a 219-206 vote, The Hill reports lawmakers approved a budget resolution for 2018 that sets up a process for shielding the GOP tax bill from a filibuster in the Senate.
A total of 18 Republicans voted against the resolution, along with all the Democrats, but GOP lawmakers hailed the vote as meaningful because of the tax measure.
“We haven’t reformed this tax system since 1986. We need to pass this budget so we can help bring more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks for people across this country,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said during House floor debate.
Ironically, Democrats lambasted it for the same reason.
“This budget isn’t about conservative policy or reducing the size of our debt and deficits. It’s not even about American families. This budget is about one thing – using budget reconciliation to ram through giant tax giveaways to the wealthy and big corporations - and to do it without bipartisan support,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.
The Senate is proceeding on a separate track toward passing its own budget, which will have to be reconciled with the House version in the coming weeks.
Yet, as The Hill notes, there are already signs of trouble, with some Republicans questioning whether the tax proposal would add too much to the deficit, and others balking at plans to eliminate a deduction for state and local taxes. The tax plan is now estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade, but that figure would grow if the state and local tax deduction is not eliminated.