The House on Thursday passed a $1.1 trillion budget, formally initiating a process that Republicans hope will result in the enactment of major tax reform later this year.

The final tally was close, with 219 votes in favor, and 206 in opposition to the resolution. More than a dozen Republicans voted with Democrats against the budget, because they objected to elements of the spending package, or to parts of the tax reform proposal.

The Senate Budget Committee was expected to pass a similar budget later in the day, with a vote in the full Senate slated for the week of Oct. 16.

By passing a budget resolution through both GOP-controlled chambers, Republicans would trigger a legislative process known as reconciliation, during which they could pass a sweeping tax reform bill with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate, instead of the usual 60-vote requirement.

Democrats unanimously opposed the resolution, which House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., labeled “a vehicle for achieving partisan tax reform.”

Yet even after the procedural hurdles are cleared, it is still far from certain that Republicans will be able to find enough common ground to actually pass the tax reform package introduced last week.

Almost immediately, disagreements emerged over how much to cut certain tax rates, which deductions could be eliminated, and whether the tax reform package would be revenue-neutral.


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