US House passes Senate’s version of budget resolution

As earlier scheduled, House Republicans on Thursday adopted the Senate’s version of the 2018 budget resolution with a narrow margin of 216-212, thereby overcoming a key hurdle for the party’s tax-reform plan.

The budget will pave way for Republicans to pass a tax overhaul that adds up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit through a reconciliation rule which only requires 51 votes to pass in the Senate, The Hill reports.

Twenty centrist Republicans who hail from populous states that could stand to lose from eliminating the state and local tax deduction, voted against the bill, more than the 18 who voted against the original House version earlier this month.

“We must provide middle-class tax relief and lower the burdens on job-creating small businesses. I could not, however, vote in support of a budget resolution that singled out for elimination the ability of New York families to deduct state and local taxes,” John Faso, one of the nay voters said in a statement.

While the budget allocates $1.1 trillion to defense and nondefense discretionary spending, routine disaster relief and war on terror funding, Republicans have viewed it as little more than an instrument for tax reform.

“Passing a budget that doesn’t address out-of-control spending and adds trillions of dollars to the national debt just to achieve some policy goal — which also could be accomplished with a responsible budget — is an endorsement of a warped worldview where the end justifies the means,” House Liberty Caucus said in a statement urging members to vote against the budget.

“Passing a budget is never easy, and it has once again been a challenge this year,” said House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black, who is running for governor of Tennessee, and agreed to drop the House’s version of the budget to expedite tax reform.

“Without question, there are plenty of things I wish were included in what the Senate passed — ideas that the House put forward earlier this month when we approved our budget. For example, I still feel strongly about addressing unsustainable mandatory spending. That hasn’t changed,” she added.

The Adoption of the budget will pave the way for the GOP plan to pass a major tax reform bill by the end of the year.

That plan included billions more in defense spending, cuts to nondefense spending and $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over a decade.

However, Democrats have berated the budget for outlining plans that would cut programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in an effort to balance the budget over a decade.

“There’s a lot of unjustifiable provisions in this budget. On top of massive tax cuts for the rich, it cuts vital national investments, threatening our economic progress and our national security,” said House Budget Committee ranking member John Yarmuth, citing more than $4 trillion in mandatory spending cuts and almost $2 trillion in cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

“The enormity of these cuts and the severity of the consequences for American families cannot be overstated,” he added.

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