House Passes Budget Paving Way to Tax Overhaul

The 2018 budget, which entails spending cuts of more than $5 trillion, including healthcare costs, was passed on Thursday in a 219-206 vote. All 219 votes came from Republicans, while only 18 of them and all 188 Democrats voted against. The 2018 budget resolution would help protect the Republican tax bill from possible Democratic filibusters in the Senate.

The vote was applauded by GOP lawmakers who consider it a significant step towards tax reformation. Speaker Paul Ryan said: “We haven’t reformed this tax system since 1986. We need to pass this budget so we can help bring more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks for people across this country.”

On the other hand, Democrats criticized the budget, saying it has nothing to do with reducing debts or helping families, but that it is only a means of promoting the interests of big corporations, without needing Democratic support.

“In order to pay for these huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, this Republican budget makes savage cuts to the life and death programs that mean so much to ordinary Americans,” said Bernie Sanders, reports Chicago Tribune.

The budget reconciliation rules enable tax reforms to be passed by Senate Republicans without Democratic votes, though no more that two defections are allowed. The same approach was used in the attempt to repeal Obamacare, but it proved unsuccessful and the same may happen with taxes. Many Republicans fear that the tax proposal could only add to the deficit. The current estimate is that in the course of a decade the plan will add $1.5 trillion to it.

The tax reform presented last week by the GOP proposes tax cuts for businesses as well as for wealthy Americans, which according to Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black will allow businesses as well as the economy to grow. The budget was passed behind schedule, five days into the new fiscal year.

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