House narrowly passes Senate budget in Republican quest for tax reform

The House voted Thursday to adopt the Senate’s budget blueprint in whole, officially kicking off a monthslong sprint to pass a massive overhaul of the tax code and have something to show to voters by next year’s elections. The plan allows for up to $1.5 trillion in new tax cuts as part of the overhaul, giving lawmakers far more room than the original House budget — but also leaving them open to accusations that they’re ruining the government’s finances in the quest for tax reform. House members voted 216-212 to approve the budget, which also sets out fiscal year 2018 discretionary spending levels at about $1 trillion, and envisions deficits of $641 billion this year. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, the House’s top tax-writer, said the plan is now to release a tax bill next Wednesday, Nov. 1, and start marking it up in committee the following week. “Today is a historic day — and we are ready to deliver tax relief that improves the lives of middle-income Americans and struggling families who have been left behind in our slow-growing economy,” said Mr. Brady, Texas Republican. House GOP leaders pushed the Senate budget through rather than spend weeks hammering out a compromise with the Senate, figuring it was more important to build momentum for tax reform than to argue over specific numbers in the plan. “This budget acknowledges that our economy is in desperate need of a jolt, and the tax cuts included in the Senate-passed budget hold the promise of doing just that,” said Rep. Diane Black, who chairs the House Budget Committee. “President Trump is with us on this, and I agree that we must move quickly,” said Mrs. Black, Tennessee Republican. In a signal of the vote’s importance, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan voted “yes,” even though the speaker typically abstains. Mr. Ryan also eyed the chamber’s giant boards displaying how all the members voted as Republicans approached the magic number to get them over the hump. The White House cheered the vote, saying it sets the stage for Congress to ultimately pass tax cuts and tax reform. “President Trump has always made cutting taxes for hard-working American families, creating more jobs for American workers, and simplifying the rigged and burdensome tax code a priority, and he looks forward to further cooperation with Congress to advance the administration’s pro-growth and pro-jobs agenda,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

This is a HUGE step.  But, only a step.  We’ll, of course, take it….for now.    🙂

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