Earlier today, after a notably contracted vote-a-rama, Senate Republicans passed a budget resolution that clears a path for the GOP’s tax reform plan. The 51-49 vote was a close call, but it could mean a desperately needed win for a party that’s been struggling with several pieces of legislative action being shot down, such as their Obamacare repeal attempts.
According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who recently buddied up with President Trump to present a united front on the tax reform agenda, the successful passing of the resolution “clears the way for committees to continue their critical work to spur steady economic growth while providing legislative tools to advance tax reform.” He called the tax reform “the single most important action we can take today to help our economy reach its full potential.”
All Democrats voted against the measure, as did Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), whose position the media was well aware of for days.
While Trump and McConnell have both stated their desire to see the tax reform signed into law before the end of the year, one massive challenge still remains, and that is to offset the estimated $6 trillion in additional deficit that such a law would burden the federal purses with. Although Republicans have touched on the subject, indicating their intent to eliminate tax breaks, deductions and such, no clear outline has yet been given on a plan to address the additional deficit load.
That said, the passing of the budget resolution unlocks a legislative tool called reconciliation that will allow a bill to be passed and signed into law without a single vote from the Democrats. As such, the GOP has already scored a major point.
Additionally, a compromise of sorts has been reached between House and Senate lawmakers, in private, that may eliminate the need for a conference committee. One of the changes that came out of that was increasing the defense budget without offsets, which would appease the defense hawks in the House. This was reported by POLITICO, which obtained amendment text that shows a potential increase of $640 billion for the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2018 budget without offsets, should an agreement be reached.