Senate Budget Resolution Paves Way to Tax Reform

Tax Reform On the Horizon as Senate Passes Budget Resolution

President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell

A major hurdle toward tax reform was accomplished last night when the Senate narrowly passed a $4 trillion dollar budget resolution. The measure passed 51-49, with all 48 Democrats and independents, and the fiscal conservative Republican Rand Paul (R-KY), voting against it. If it is also approved by the House (or in House-Senate conference) the resolution will allow a tax reform bill to avoid filibuster in the Senate. Reform could then pass the Senate by a simple majority of 51 votes (or 50 with Vice President Pence casting the tiebreaker), which could be accomplished with no Democratic approval.

Even after a budget resolution is approved by both houses, much work still need to be done before a final tax law can be passed. The White House and Republicans, represented by the Big Six group of leaders, have put forth a set of tax reform principles known as the framework, but nothing approaching actual legislative language has yet been presented.

President Trump praised the bill in a late-night tweet congratulating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) called it “the last, best chance we will have to cut taxes.”

Others, such as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Budget Committee ranking member Senators Bernie Sander (I-VT), condemned it.  Sanders called it “a Robin Hood principle in reverse,” benefiting the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Schumer said the large deficits and debt the budget would create will lead to “huge cuts in programs that middle-class Americans rely on” and give huge tax breaks to corporations and affluent Americans.