Senate Passes Budget Paving Way for Tax Reform

Senate Republicans passed the $4 trillion budget proposal on Thursday, clearing the path for tax reform, one of their more significant campaign promises. After hours on the Senate floor, the measure was approved by narrow 51-49 vote, with GOP Senator Rand Paul as the only Republican to vote against, CNBC reports.

Senators’ budget resolution will now have to be reconciled with that passed by the House. Reconciliation would mean the GOP could pass tax reform with a majority vote, avoiding Democratic filibuster. The proposed tax cuts, say President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Speaker Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan will spur economic growth.

“Passing this budget is critical to getting tax reform done, so we can strengthen our economy after years of stagnation under the previous administration,” McConnell said.

Senator Bob Corker, who voted for the budget, called it “the biggest hoax cast upon the American people”, and sees it only as a means to passing tax overhaul. According to him, the budget has no real-world effect and it would be disbanded were he chairman of the Budget Committee.

However, there are still some differences that have to be overcome before a joint budget is approved by lawmakers from the two chambers. Senate proposes tax cuts which would add an additional $1.5 trillion to the deficit in the course of ten years, while the House’s proposal is revenue-neutral.

The Senate budget also proposes cutting nondefense spending as well as Medicaid and Medicare spending, while at the same time allowing for defense spending to continue rising, reaching $684 billion by 2027.

Republicans do hope they can pass a tax bill which entails cuts to individual and corporate taxes as well, but the framework they recently released cannot fund those cuts, eventually adding to the budget deficit.

A final more concrete tax bill is to be introduced after a budget resolution is passed.

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