Republican senators came to a consensus late Thursday night to pass a 2018 budget measure that will pave the way for an end-of-year tax reform bill – a major proposal that the party will now be able to put on the president’s desk without any help from the Democrats. In a vote along party lines, the Senate passed the budget 51-49. Inside the $4 trillion proposal are rules that allow the leadership to use reconciliation measures to pass tax reform using only a simple majority vote. As long as this package gets signed into law, Republicans will only need to make sure that federal deficit increases due to their tax reform plan do not exceed $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.
It is a good sign for Republican progress, but it’s not quite smooth sailing yet. The House still needs to reconcile the budget with their own legislation, which calls for $200 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the next decade. If the House rejects the Senate bill, the GOP’s hopes of doing tax reform free of a filibuster may come crashing down. And even if they do get the bill onto the president’s desk, conservatives have a right to be wary. After all, Republicans have yet to pass any major legislation, despite working to repeal Obamacare with the same reconciliation rules they will now have on tax reform. Several times, they have been unable to get to 50 in the Senate. Will tax reform be any different?
Quite possibly. Tax reform is a different animal, and there’s considerable reason to believe that we will not see the kind of intraparty divisions on this that we saw on healthcare. And the president is pushing hard to get Republicans to pass it this year. Asked by Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo if Congress should stay in session through the Christmas break if they don’t have a bill, Trump said yes.
“Well, I think they should and I think they will,” Trump said. “I think a lot of things are happening unless, you know, it’s going to be right after that. But I don’t even like them leaving. I want to get it by the end of the year, but I’d be very disappointed if it took that long.”
Trump said Congress could get it done more quickly.
“It could be substantially less than that depending on what happens when we send the bill back to the House,” he said. “You know, they’ll send it back and people are going to go and make 200 suggestions as opposed to maybe no suggestions because it’s a great bill. It’s going to be a great bill. And we’re adjusting.”
A great tax reform bill could revitalize the economy and make any and all complaints about Trump or incumbent Republicans obsolete. If people have good jobs, spending goes up, and all the rest falls into place, voters won’t give two whits about whatever Scandal of the Week the liberal media is trying to lay on the White House. Should be incentive enough to get something done, but we’ll see.