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. FitzpatrickHouse Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Ensuring quality health care for those with intellectual disabilities and autism House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad MORE (Pa.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoRepublicans should get behind the 28th Amendment Student loan borrowers are defaulting yearly — how can we fix it? Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker MORE (N.Y.), Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingThe 9 House Republicans who support background checks Progressive gun control activist on NRA: 'Don't count them out' McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation MORE (N.Y.), Leonard LanceLeonard LanceBottom Line Push for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems Incoming Dem lawmaker: Trump 'sympathizes' with leaders 'accused of moral transgressions' MORE (N.J.), Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoRepublicans plot comeback in New Jersey K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 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 AmashLawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Sanford headed to New Hampshire amid talk of challenge to Trump MORE (Mich.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckWith budget deal, Congress again fails to hold spending in check The Memo: Mueller's stumbles distract from substance Trump lashes out at NBC reporter who asked if he's worried he could be indicted after leaving office 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) GaetzI'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Gaetz cleared by Florida Bar after Cohen tweet probe Bottom Line 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 JonesThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic infighting threatens 2020 unity Heavy loss by female candidate in Republican NC runoff sparks shock Greg Murphy wins GOP primary runoff for North Carolina House seat MORE (N.C.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieAirports already have plenty of infrastructure funding Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border House votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (Ky.) and Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordScaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump Sunday shows - Recession fears dominate Possible GOP challenger says Trump doesn't deserve reelection, but would vote for him over Democrat 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.

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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 YarmuthTrump signs two-year budget deal Lawmakers point to entitlements when asked about deficits House Problem Solvers are bringing real change to Congress 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.