House adopts Senate budget, takes step toward tax reform

House Republicans on Thursday narrowly adopted the Senate’s version of the 2018 budget resolution, overcoming a key hurdle for the party’s tax-reform plan.

The budget will allow Republicans to pass a tax overhaul that adds up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit through a process known as reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes to pass in the Senate.

Twenty Republicans voted against the budget in the 216-212 vote, more than the 18 who voted against the original House version earlier this month.

Most of the 20 defectors were centrists hailing from populous states that could stand to lose from eliminating the state and local tax deduction.

Those lawmakers included Reps. Dan Donovan (N.Y.), John FasoJohn James FasoThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority GOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority MORE (N.Y.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickOvernight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases Billboards calling on House Republicans to 'do their job' follow members home for Thanksgiving Mark Ruffalo brings fight against 'forever chemicals' to Capitol Hill MORE (Pa.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHouse GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Progressive group unveils first slate of 2020 congressional endorsements Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law MORE (N.Y.), Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingHouse GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Retiring lawmaker's 2018 opponent won't run for seat, citing 'difficult' pregnancies House panel advances flavored e-cigarette ban MORE (N.Y.), Leonard LanceLeonard LanceGun debate to shape 2020 races GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Bottom Line MORE (N.J.), Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoFormer GOP Rep. Costello launches lobbying shop Republicans plot comeback in New Jersey K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (N.J.), Tom MacArthurThomas (Tom) Charles MacArthurRepublicans plot comeback in New Jersey Republicans spend more than million at Trump properties The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE (N.J.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) and Lee Zeldin (N.Y.).

"We must provide middle-class tax relief and lower the burdens on job-creating small businesses. I could not, however, vote in support of a budget resolution that singled out for elimination the ability of New York families to deduct state and local taxes," Faso said in a statement.

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Some Republicans, like Katko, were seen on the House floor hovering near the House GOP whip team and waited until the last moment to cast their votes. Two more votes in opposition would have doomed final passage.

A handful of conservatives also voted against the budget: Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan On The Money: Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown | Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Amash: Democrats missed opportunity in hearing to 'persuade people' on Trump impeachment MORE (Mich.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckThe House must act now on USMCA to build on the ecomomy's success Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback With budget deal, Congress again fails to hold spending in check MORE (Colo.), John DuncanJohn James DuncanLamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee Tennessee New Members 2019 Live coverage: Social media execs face grilling on Capitol Hill MORE (Tenn.), Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTrade deal talks expand as Congress debates tech legal shield Three legal scholars say Trump should be impeached; one thinks otherwise George Conway calls out Melania Trump after she criticizes impeachment witness: 'You're amplifying what was a nothingburger reference' MORE (Fla.), Lynn JenkinsLynn Haag JenkinsFormer GOP Rep. Costello launches lobbying shop Kansas Republican dropping Senate bid to challenge GOP rep Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' MORE (Kan.), Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesRepublican Greg Murphy wins special election in NC's 3rd District Early voting extended in NC counties impacted by Dorian ahead of key House race The Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina special election poses test for GOP ahead of 2020 MORE (N.C.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieHillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware House passes anti-robocall bill GOP lawmaker says newly-released Butina was jailed due to 'Russophobia' MORE (Ky.) and Mark SanfordMark SanfordThe Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field Michigan GOP attempting to have Trump be only Republican candidate on ballot Weld files to run in GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire MORE (S.C.).

While the budget allocates $1.1 trillion to defense and nondefense discretionary spending and routine disaster relief and war on terror funding, Republicans have viewed it as little more than a vehicle for tax reform.

The pressure to get moving on tax reform spurred many conservatives, including those in the House Freedom Caucus, to get on board with the Senate budget despite their push for spending cuts.

Some conservatives still joined with centrists wary of the fate of the state and local tax deduction out of concern for the budget’s impact on the deficit.

“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 libertarian-minded House Liberty Caucus said in a statement urging members to vote against the budget.

House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBottom line Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion Democrats take heat from party | More states sue Purdue over opioid epidemic | 1 in 4 in poll say high costs led them to skip medical care Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee MORE (R-Tenn.), who is running for governor of Tennessee, agreed to drop the House’s version of the budget, which passed earlier in the month, in order to expedite tax reform.

That plan included billions more in defense spending, cuts to nondefense spending and $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over a decade.

“Passing a budget is never easy, and it has once again been a challenge this year,” Black said.

“Without question, there are plenty of things I wish were included in what the Senate passed — ideas that the House put forward earlier this month when we approved our budget. For example, I still feel strongly about addressing unsustainable mandatory spending. That hasn’t changed,” she added.

Adoption of the budget will now set in motion Republicans’ plans to release their long-awaited tax-reform bill in the coming days.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families How centrist Dems learned to stop worrying and love impeachment On The Money: Senate passes first spending package as shutdown looms | Treasury moves to roll back Obama rules on offshore tax deals | Trade deal talks manage to weather Trump impeachment storm MORE (R-Texas) plans to unveil legislation next week and schedule a time for his panel to consider it the following week.

GOP leaders have laid out an ambitious goal of passing the tax code overhaul by Thanksgiving so that it can be enacted into law by year’s end. Republicans are eager to claim victory on one of their biggest campaign promises after failing to repeal and replace ObamaCare earlier this year.

Democrats excoriated the budget for outlining plans that would cut programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in an effort to balance the budget over a decade.

“There’s a lot of unjustifiable provisions in this budget. On top of massive tax cuts for the rich, it cuts vital national investments, threatening our economic progress and our national security,” said House Budget Committee ranking member John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Kentucky Democrat: McConnell's agenda driven by 'power without a purpose' MORE (D-Ky.), citing more than $4 trillion in mandatory spending cuts and almost $2 trillion in cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

“The enormity of these cuts and the severity of the consequences for American families cannot be overstated,” he added.

The budget did not include provisions to enact or enforce the proposed cuts.

For years, Congress has failed to pass budget and spending bills through regular order, and this budget’s adoption comes nearly four weeks into the fiscal year. The House approved 12 spending bills aligned with its earlier budget resolution, now pushed to the side. The Senate has only passed a fraction of its spending bills through committee and approved none on the floor.

The government is running on a three-month spending extension of 2017 spending, which will expire on Dec. 8. 

Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for intense negotiations over a final spending package. Without a deal or another extension, the government will shut down. Even an additional stopgap measure will only be able to take the government into late January, when strict budget caps will kick in and curtail spending across the board.