House Republicans narrowly approved the Senate-passed budget resolution Thursday, clearing a procedural hurdle and allowing the House of Representatives to take up a tax overhaul.
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The bill passed 216–212, with all Democrats and some Republicans opposing the measure. Speaker Paul Ryan cast a rare vote in favor of the measure, highlighting the significance of the vote.
The president applauded the House for "fulfilling its obligation to the American people" in passing the budget and said he looks forward to "further cooperation with Congress," according to a statement from the White House.
"This resolution sets the stage for Congress to put America first by providing economic relief for the American people in the form of tax cuts and tax reform," the statement read.
A group of New York and New Jersey Republicans opposed the bill out of concerns about possible changes to state and local tax deductions in the GOP tax plan to be formally proposed down the line.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi bashed the bill as a "massive con."
While the nonbinding $4 trillion budget plan would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, all but the most strident deficit hawks voted for the measure, abandoning GOP orthodoxy for their once-in-a-generation effort to rewrite the tax code using reconciliation, which allows for a simple majority vote in the Senate, in lieu of the usual 60-vote threshold, for passage.
President Donald Trump has made that argument, pitching the possibility of a tax overhaul to members this week as he rallied support for the budget resolution.
“He said, ‘Tom, just hold your nose, close your eyes and vote yes,’” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said of Trump’s message in a phone call last Sunday. “I think that’s how a lot of guys are approaching it.”
After their failed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year, political considerations also trumped longstanding policy concerns for some members of the party.
“There wasn’t a win in health care, and the base is frustrated,” Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., who voted against the measure, told ABC News. “If there isn’t some sort of win, I think there will be repercussions in 2018.”
Republicans will release the details of their tax plan next week, and hope to send the measure to the Senate by Thanksgiving.
GOP tax writers still have a number of issues to resolve before releasing the proposal, including any changes to the state and local tax deductions, and potential changes to 401 (k) plans, despite President Trump's pledge not to touch retirement savings accounts.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., declined to weigh in on the debate between Trump and GOP tax writers, who argue that changes to retirement savings accounts are needed to help pay for the proposed tax cuts.
"I agree with comprehensive tax reform and giving the committee the latitude they need," Ryan told reporters Thursday.