House passes Senate budget, clearing way for GOP tax overhaul

The House passed the Senate's 2018 budget Thursday. This vote was a prerequisite for an upcoming GOP attempt to pass a tax-overhaul
By Mark Schwartz | Oct 28, 2017
The Senate's 2018 budget plan passed the House by just four votes Thursday, 216-212. Its passage sets the stage for House and Senate Republicans to attempt to attempt to pass a major tax-overhaul package that could cut taxes by as much as $1.5 trillion.

"This is a huge day for the American people," said Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas Republican and chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. "This allows us to move quickly toward a tax reform plan that's going to create jobs, grow paychecks and leapfrog America into the lead as one of the best places on the planet for new jobs."

The budget bill that the House approved Thursday sets discretionary spending for the 2018 fiscal year, which started October 1. And it allows for up to $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.

But it does not specify which taxes the cuts will affect or by how much. Those numbers will be the subject of a forthcoming "tax reform" bill that Brady said he will release to his committee on Wednesday next week in hopes of getting a committee vote on it by the following week.

Republicans plan to use the fast-track process known as reconciliation to get the tax legislation through both houses by simple majority vote. Reconciliation bypasses the filibustering that would block a bill under usual legislative proceedings. Passing a budget was a prerequisite for unlocking the reconciliation process, however, which was why this budget was a priority.

House Republicans had approved their own version of the budget earlier this month but dropped it to approve the Senate version. Sources reported that the two budgets differ on some points, but that House Republicans prioritized approving the Senate budget so that they could move on to working on the tax bill.

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