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: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Addressing climate change is a win for Republicans — why not embrace it? House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban MORE (Pa.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban MORE (N.Y.), Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingHillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda House Homeland Security Republicans to introduce slew of cybersecurity bills GOP congressman: Trump should have been 'above' attacking Pelosi at Normandy MORE (N.Y.), Leonard LanceLeonard LancePush for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems Incoming Dem lawmaker: Trump 'sympathizes' with leaders 'accused of moral transgressions' On The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report MORE (N.J.), Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority LoBiondo launches consulting firm MORE (N.J.), Tom MacArthurThomas (Tom) Charles MacArthurRepublicans spend more than million at Trump properties The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 10 things we learned from the midterms 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 AmashSupreme Court set to deliver ruling on census citizenship question Democrats seek to ban federal spending at Trump businesses DC theatre to host 11-hour reading of the Mueller report MORE (Mich.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckBiggs, Khanna launch bipartisan War Powers Caucus Woman accuses top US cardinal of mishandling church sexual abuse case 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill 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) GaetzGOP lawmaker says some Trump officials contradicting Pompeo on Iran and al Qaeda GOP lawmaker on Iran: Congress should vote on 'what's worthy of spilling American blood and what isn't' Lawmakers spar at testy Mueller hearing MORE (Fla.), Lynn JenkinsLynn Haag JenkinsAnti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers Pompeo seen as top recruit for Kansas Senate seat MORE (Kan.), Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesGOP women's super PAC blasts 'out of touch' candidate in NC runoff GOP amps up efforts to recruit women candidates The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE (N.C.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThis week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive House conservative's procedural protest met with bipartisan gripes Trump signs long-awaited .1B disaster aid bill MORE (Ky.) and Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordThe Memo: Can Trump run as an outsider? Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment 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 BradyDemocrats give Trump trade chief high marks Democrats talk up tax credits to counter Trump law House panel approves bills on tax extenders, expanding tax credits 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 YarmuthDemocrats not keen to reignite Jerusalem embassy fight Pelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty Who are the House Democrats backing Trump impeachment? 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.