Budget & Appropriations – House Passes Senate FY 2018 Budget Resolution, Setting the Stage for Tax Cuts and Possible Program Cuts

On October 26, the House passed the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Senate Budget Resolution (H. Con Res 71, as amended) by a vote of 216 to 212. Since the House simply passed the Senate’s budget rather than going to conference to negotiate the significant differences between the chambers’ bills, the timeframe for a tax reform bill has been speeded up. Though the Budget Resolution is not a binding document, it provides a blueprint for federal spending and revenues for the next decade and authorizes certain committee and Congressional action for this fiscal year. The final Budget Resolution provides instructions to the Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committees allowing them to develop legislation that increases the deficit by up to $1.5 trillion over 10 years. That legislation would only require a simple majority (51 or 50 plus the tie-breaking vote of the Vice President) in the Senate to pass during FY 18. In addition to taxation, the Finance Committee has jurisdiction over Medicaid, Medicare, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and other health and human services programs. The House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over taxation and several health and human services programs (see list). The Senate budget assumes, but does not require, over $5 trillion in program cuts, including a nearly 30% cut in inflation adjusted dollars to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs. Fortunately, however, 60 votes will be needed in the Senate to change the caps for defense and NDD programs established by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

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