Tax Reform Gains Momentum After House Passes Budget

The House adopted the Senate’s version of the budget resolution to move forward the GOP’s tax overhaul efforts
October 26, 2017 Updated: October 27, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget resolution for the 2018 fiscal year on Oct. 26, moving the Republicans one step closer to passing tax reform.

The Republican-controlled House had passed a budget earlier this month, but it was different than what the Senate approved on Oct. 19.

The Senate’s version of the budget allowed $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over a decade. However, the House called for a revenue-neutral tax bill through spending cuts or other tax increases. To solve the difference, the House voted to adopt the Senate version of the budget.

The budget was passed by a 216-212 vote, with opposition from all Democrats and 20 Republicans.

The majority of the GOP members opposing the budget are from states with high local tax rates. They have expressed concerns over a provision in the tax reform plan that repeals the state and local income tax deductions.

Approval of a budget resolution by both chambers clears a big hurdle for tax reform.

Republicans can now use reconciliation, a legislative process, which allows them to pass a tax reform bill with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate, rather than the usual 60-vote requirement needed to defeat a likely filibuster.

The proposed tax cuts could add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. However, the Trump administration predicts that tax reform would spur enough economic growth to pay for itself.

Trump and the so-called “Big Six”—the top members of Congress responsible for tax policy—unveiled a nine-page unified framework in late September. They are still negotiating on the details of the final legislation. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said that Republicans aim to release a tax bill on Nov. 1.

Republicans have set an ambitious schedule to get a bill to the president’s desk by the end of the year.

The window, however, is closing fast, with less than 30 legislative workdays days left in this calendar year. And this puts a lot of pressure on Republicans.

“Votes on the budget have happened faster than expected,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, an advocacy group.

“It’s moving along well enough that we will get this done on time this year,” he told NTD TV.

Follow Emel on Twitter: @mlakan