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 FasoTax law failed to save GOP majority New York New Members 2019 McCarthy defeats Jordan for minority leader in 159-to-43 vote MORE (N.Y.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickLatest funding bill to reopen the government fails in House GOP maps out early 2020 strategy to retake House A rare display of real political courage MORE (Pa.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoOn The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Latest funding bill to reopen the government fails in House Democrats turn down White House invitation for shutdown talks MORE (N.Y.), Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingHouse passes bills to fund Transportation Dept., HUD, Agriculture GOP emphasizes unity ahead of new shutdown votes Dems look to chip away at Trump tax reform law MORE (N.Y.), Leonard LanceLeonard LanceIncoming 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 Tax law failed to save GOP majority MORE (N.J.), Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoLive coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — George H.W. Bush lies in state | NRCC suffers major hack | Crunch-time for Congress The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Washington poised to avert shutdown crisis, for now MORE (N.J.), Tom MacArthurThomas (Tom) Charles MacArthur 10 things we learned from the midterms New Jersey New Members 2019 On The Money: Trump, Senate leaders to huddle on border wall funding | Fed bank regulator walks tightrope on Dodd-Frank | Koch-backed groups blast incentives for corporations after Amazon deal 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 AmashDems revive impeachment talk after latest Cohen bombshell McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader On The Money: Trump says he won't declare emergency 'so fast' | Shutdown poised to become longest in history | Congress approves back pay for workers | More federal unions sue over shutdown MORE (Mich.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckTo win on anti-corruption, Democrats need to change the game plan The 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Mattis defends border deployment during visit to troops | Bolton aide exits WH after clash with first lady | House blocks Yemen war resolution | Report warns of erosion in US military superiority 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) GaetzMaduro starts new term in Venezuela facing US sanctions, lack of legitimacy abroad Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Native American lawmaker: Haven't heard back from GOP rep who called Warren 'Sacagawea' MORE (Fla.), Lynn JenkinsLynn Haag JenkinsPompeo seen as top recruit for Kansas Senate seat Exiting lawmakers jockey for K Street perch GOP seeks to ram through Trump’s B wall demand MORE (Kan.), Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesHouse elects Pelosi to second Speakership GOP lawmaker suggests Trump use some of his own money to help pay for border wall Pelosi sees fierce resistance from White House if Dems seek Trump’s tax returns MORE (N.C.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieTwitter suspends account that helped incident with Native American man go viral Massie claims media misrepresented Covington Catholic incident McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader MORE (Ky.) and Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordMark Sanford warns US could see ‘Hitler-like character’ in the future House passes year-end tax package Pelosi sees fierce resistance from White House if Dems seek Trump’s tax returns 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 BlackLamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee Juan Williams: The GOP's worsening problem with women How to reform the federal electric vehicle tax credit 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 BradyTexas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall Trump on declaring national emergency: 'Not going to do it so fast' Dems look to chip away at Trump tax reform law 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 YarmuthGOP pollster says most Americans would support deal including wall funding, DACA plan Ocasio-Cortez sparks debate with talk of 70 percent marginal rate Dems look to chip away at Trump tax reform law 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.