House Republicans on Thursday passed the Senate’s version of the $4 trillion, 2017-2018 budget resolution that sets the stage for tax reform consideration.
“Big news – Budget just passed!” President Donald Trump tweeted after the budget resolution started on its journey to his desk.
The Hill reported that the action will allow Congress to overhaul taxes through a process known as reconciliation, which would require only 51 Senate votes.
Twenty Republicans voted against the budget in the 216-212 vote. Alabama’s six Republican House members voted for the resolution while the sole Democrat voted no.
The budget for the fiscal year that began Oct 1 allocates $1.1 trillion to defense and non-defense discretionary spending, routine disaster relief, and war on terror funding.
It doesn’t cut the debt, though, which may happen next year (according to House Speaker Paul Ryan; see In Case You Missed It).
“Passing a budget that doesn’t address out-of-control spending and adds trillions of dollars to the national debt just to achieve some policy goal – which also could be accomplished with a responsible budget – is an endorsement of a warped worldview where the end justifies the means,” the House Liberty Caucus said in a statement.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, plans to unveil a $1.5 trillion tax reduction package next week and hopes to start considering it Nov. 6, the Hill reported. Republicans want to overhaul taxes by Thanksgiving and make it law by year’s end.
BCA NATIONAL PARTNERS LAUD BUDGET, URGE TAX REFORM
The National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week thanked the House for quickly approving a budget document and urged quick action on pending tax reform.
The U.S. corporate tax rate is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world. Business advocates seek a tax reduction to 15 percent although President Trump has said he would support a rate of 20 percent.
Timmons said tax reform will raise wages, create jobs, lift families, strengthen communities, and spur manufacturing growth across America.
“Now the House and Senate must come together and get a bill to the president’s desk that adheres to his framework and upholds his manufacturing agenda,” he said. “Tax reform that makes us more competitive as a nation should not be about partisan politics; it should be about the future success of our country.
Timmons told lawmakers that regardless of party, “if you support the current tax system, you do not support America’s manufacturing workers.”
U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue urged Congress to “get it done” and said “failure is not an option.”
“Our current tax code is complex and antiquated, holding back innovation, discouraging investment, and breeding uncertainty,” Donohue said. “With this important hurdle cleared, the tax-writing committees can move legislation forward and make progress toward meaningful reform this year … in fact, failing to reform the outdated tax code will actually halt recent economic improvements.”
The U.S. Chamber’s principles for pro-growth tax reform can be viewed here.
The BCA is the exclusive representative in Alabama of the NAM and the U.S. Chamber.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
On Debt Reduction, GOP Says Wait Until Next Year
Roll Call (McPherson 10/26) “Speaker Paul D. Ryan is focused on using the budget process to rewrite the tax code, but hasn’t yet committed on what to use the next budget resolution for. Despite years of calling for reducing the federal debt, House Republicans [voted] Thursday on a budget that doesn’t balance and that calls for adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit to finance a tax overhaul.
“[The] fiscal 2018 budget resolution is the vehicle needed to set up the fast-track process for rewriting the tax code and not letting Senate Democrats filibuster the bill. But Republicans say they plan to use that same budget reconciliation process again next year to start chipping away at the deficit.
“The Senate rejected the target of $203 billion in mandatory savings the House attempted to include in its own budget resolution. House Republicans … [have] promises that the tax overhaul will get done this year and deficit reduction will follow in 2018.
“Most GOP lawmakers don’t like the prospect of facing voters in 2018 without having done something to at least chip away at the law they’ve promised for years to dismantle … Obamacare. Instead, Republicans could turn to another economic priority: changing the social welfare system.”
Trump Administration Makes History with Largest-Ever Lease Proposal for Offshore Drilling
Fortune (Bach 10/25) “The Trump administration is about to make history. On Tuesday, the administration announced that it will sell leases for nearly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling-the largest offering ever.
“Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the sale, which is scheduled for March, would open an area the size of New Mexico to drilling. It will include all ‘available unleased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf’. Reports suggest that this area could hold “recoverable reserves” of upwards of 48 billion barrels of oil and 141 trillion cubic feet of gas. This will be the second offshore sale under the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. According to World Oil, the first sale held last year received $121 million in bids. The government receives the bid price and rental payments, plus royalties on any future production.
“Upping U.S. energy production is one of Trump’s key priorities. With this in mind, the administration has moved to increase production and expand exports, and ultimately, generate jobs. ‘In today’s low-price energy environment, providing the offshore industry access to the maximum amount of opportunities possible is part of our strategy to spur local and regional economic dynamism and job creation and a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy dominant’, Zinke said of the planned sale.”