House Approves Budget Resolution – Tax Reform is Next

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In a squeaker vote (216-212), today, the House passed the FY 18 budget resolution (HCon Res 71) as amended earlier by the Senate.  The nonbinding measure clears the way for Congress to begin serious work on revisions to the tax code and, possibly, further work on appropriations funding before the December 8 expiration of the Continuing Resolution.

The agreed-to language in the resolution sets the stage for Congress (as part of the anticipated tax package) to have the option to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years.  Originally, the House had proposed $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts.  By agreeing to the Senate’s language structure, the two chambers will not have to go through a lengthy Conference Committee process.  Another accepted element from the Senate bill creates a reserve fund that allows appropriators to raise discretionary spending caps without the need for cost offsets.

Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI) has issued an optimistic statement that House Republicans plan to publish the tax reform legislation as early as next week.  He also proposed that a fast track effort would result in legislation ready for the Senate to consider before Thanksgiving and a final bill ready for signature before the end of the year.