Senate Budget Committee Republicans joined with Democrats in trying to include more of a middle-class emphasis to a GOP tax plan. During its markup of the budget resolution, the Budget Committee adopted eight amendments, including three by Republicans, and five offered by Democrats and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats.
One of King’s amendments, which the panel adopted by voice vote, calls on the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation to analyze "the distributional effects across income categories" from major legislation including the Republican tax overhaul.
While there are common concerns over the effects of tax cuts on the economy, it’s unlikely to resolve the overall partisan divide over tax legislation. Republicans are still set in pushing through a budget resolution so they can attach reconciliation instructions that allow the Senate to pass a tax bill by a simple majority and avoid having to win any Democratic support. Senators from both parties sought to insert language in the budget resolution stressing their concern about the middle class.
Sen. King also succeeded in persuading the committee to adopt an amendment allowing Chair of the Senate Budget Committee Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) to make adjustments to encourage legislation that would make the cost of child and dependent care more affordable and useful for American families.
The committee also adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) intended to prevent cutting Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security to help pay for tax cuts. The committee adopted the amendment, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) joining Democrats in favor of the provision.
The House was able to pass a budget resolution; however, 18 Republicans joined Democrats opposing the resolution. Those republicans who were not in favor of the resolution had different reasons. Some were concerned about an increase to the deficit, while others thought the spending cuts went too far.
One of the no votes was Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) who represents a suburban district near Washington, D.C. "As I have consistently maintained, we cannot balance the federal budget on the backs of our federal workforce," Comstock said in a statement. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) wrote on Facebook that he opposed the resolution because of potential cuts to Medicaid and other entitlements and because it incorporated the framework of Republicans’ Affordable Care Act replacement legislation.
The Senate budget resolution is expected to reach the floor next week. However, deep tax cuts are creating friction among the Republicans, so it will likely not be an easy pursuit.
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