On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the Senate's budget resolution by a vote of 216-212. While the entire Democratic caucus voted against the bill, there were also 20 Republicans who came out against it. Republican tax-reform framework proposes the elimination of the state and local tax deductions, a measure that will be felt most keenly in high-tax states such as California and New York. The SALT deduction allows taxpayers to deduct what they pay to states and local jurisdictions from their federal tax obligation. people to shave off what they pay in state and local taxes from their federal tax bill.

Republicans, by eliminating the deductions, would offset a significant number of their planned tax cuts — saving $1.3 trillion over 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center. Reflecting the mood of legislators from high-tax states, GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey tweeted in advance of the voting that he would vote "no" on the budget. Before the votes were cast, some analysts noted that there were enough Republicans from high-tax states to block the budget. But in the end, all of California’s Republicans and some of New York’s, voted in favor of the bill.

The Senate budget resolution is key for tax reform because it includes instructions for a budget reconciliation: a process which allows the bill to pass the Senate with a majority of votes. Since Republicans have a slim 52-seat majority in the Senate, reconciliation is essential to avoiding a filibuster by Democrats. 

President Donald Trump joined Congressional Republicans in celebrating the bill. Trump tweeted, "Big news - Budget just passed!" 

After the votes were cast, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, said that the vote will ease the way for the full tax reform bill on November 1. 

The Senate passed the measure last week and the House endorsed it without changes, which has as its goal a full rewrite of the inefficient, loophole-laden tax code in the hope of pursuing economic growth. 

Twenty Republicans opposed the measure, a mix of spending hawks and centrists. Several lawmakers from New York and New Jersey who supported the House plan earlier this month opposed the measure over worries about the state and local tax deduction.

"This isn't over," said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). The House Liberty Caucus said in a statement, “Passing a budget that doesn’t address out-of-control spending and adds trillions of dollars to the national debt just to achieve some policy goal—which also could be accomplished with a responsible budget—is an endorsement of a warped worldview where the end justifies the means.”

The House libertarian group declared: “This budget never balances, and it adds $5.5 trillion… to the national debt over the next decade.”

On Wednesday, House Liberty Caucus Chairman Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) slammed the bill on Twitter. “Big-Government Budget paves way for Congress to blow through spending caps, and it never balances. What happened to fiscal conservatism?,” Amash asked.

Republicans who voted against the budget:

Justin Amash (MI)
Jimmy Duncan (TN)
Thomas Massie (KY)
Walter Jones (NC)
Mark Sanford  (FL)
Rep. Ken Buck (CO)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL) 
Dan Donovan (NY)
John Faso (NY)
John Katko (NY)
Peter King (NY)
Leonard Lance (NJ)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
Tom MacArthur (NJ)
Chris Smith (NJ)
Elise Stefanik (NY)
Claudia Tenney (NY)
Lee Zeldin (NY)
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA)
Lynn Jenkins (KS)
 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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