House passes $4.1T budget plan


Passing the measure in the House and Senate would provide key procedural help for the tax measure because it sets the stage for follow-on legislation that can't be filibustered by Senate Democrats. The nonbinding plan would permit $1.5 trillion in debt-financed tax cuts.

The House budget calls for a revenue-neutral tax bill, after assuming that the tax plan will generate economic growth.

Republicans are using the budget resolution as to vehicle to enact tax reform legislation which includes $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.

Proposals include cutting $37 billion to affordable housing and the Section 8 rental assistance program, $4 billion in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, $6.5 billion to the Women, Infant and Children's nutrition program, more than $100 billion, or 33 percent of Pell Grant funding for students and $3 billion from Head Start services. "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. Without any major legislative victories to date, Republicans are eager to move ahead. They hope to secure a tax win by the end of the year, which is an ambitious timeline. The current top individual rate is 39.6 percent.

Thursday's vote comes five days into the new fiscal year, and a month after the House passed all 12 of its spending bills for 2018. Congress and Trump must strike a new deal to prevent a shutdown after that deadline.

The resolution keeps overall spending levels steady from 2017, unlike its counterpart in the House, which cut non-defense spending by $5 billion and increases defense spending by $72 billion. Five of the 18 Republican votes against the budget came from NY and New Jersey Republicans, who have expressed the most concern about repealing the deduction.

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The Senate plan lacks those attachments, except for a plank that could allow for a fast-track vote on Arctic oil drilling.

Democrats blasted the sweeping spending cuts proposed by Republicans — $5.4 trillion over 10 years in the House plan and somewhat less in the Senate GOP measure — as an assault on middle-class families and the poor. The budget outline, for example, assumes the adoption of a House-passed ObamaCare repeal bill that has not advanced.

The House budget leaves no room for tax reform to add to the deficit.

To unlock the reconciliation rules for tax reform, lawmakers will likely have to go to conference to sort out differences with the Senate's budget resolution. Budgets represent our values, and if this represents Republican values, then shame on you, " said Rep. Jim McGovern (D., Mass.) "That, to me, is what this budget represents - it's about making things worse for pay for a tax cut for wealthy people".

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said "the House passed one of the most significant budgets many of us will ever vote on - a budget that paves the way for once-in-a-generation, transformational tax reform".