Many have been doubting the Senate’s ability to pass meaningful legislation in light of the recent Affordable Health Act repeal debacle, which saw the GOP flounder for months. This time, however, it looks like they pulled through.
The Senate passed President Trump’s proposed budget, a move that is a “First step toward delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for the American people!” according to a tweet from Mr. Trump.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
Senators narrowly voted 51-49 to pass the fiscal 2018 budget after what was an exhausting hours-long marathon on the Senate floor. The only Republican to vote against the bill was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who voted alongside every Democrat and Independent.
This budget is an important step to pass the president’s proposed tax reform because, among other things, it includes instructions that will help avoid a filibuster from the Democrats, according to The Hill.
With a last-minute amendment by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY), the GOP is hopeful that the budget will be sufficient to avoid a conference committee between the two legislative houses and hopes instead to allow the House to simply pass the Senate’s resolution.
“Passing this budget is critical to getting tax reform done, so we can strengthen our economy after years of stagnation under the previous administration,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“It clears the way for committees to continue their critical work to spur steady economic growth while providing legislative tools to advance tax reform,” he added, calling it the “the single most important action we can take today to help our economy reach its full potential,” according to Politico.
However, some senators feel that this budget proposal is overrated, and claim that the only thing that truly matters is the pending tax reform. “This is the biggest hoax cast upon the American people ever that this budget process even exists. The only thing about this that matters is in preparation for tax reform,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).
The new budget allows for more defense spending without offsets, thus increasing the Pentagon’s fiscal 2018 budget to $640 billion, should lawmakers reach a deal to raise current spending caps.
Overall, the budget would allow the Senate’s GOP tax plan to add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade. Although irritating the more fiscally stringent Senators on the floor, it marks a significant decrease from Obama’s average deficit increase of one trillion per year.
The plan maintains spending at 2017 levels for one year but then cuts non-defense spending in subsequent years. The resolution also proposes a $473 billion cut to Medicare’s baseline funding over the course of a decade, as well as $1 trillion from Medicaid, although these measures need additional legislation to be enforced.
The Senate just passed the budget that includes tax reform. Is this a good thing?
No Democrats voted for the budget, which they claim will pave the way for a tax plan that hurts middle-class Americans as well as those on Medicare and Medicaid.
This budget proposal is the first step to implementing President Trump’s tax reform. Few conservatives expected the Senate to pass on this proposal so soon. Let’s hope it stays that way.