WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) presided over the narrow passage of a $4 trillion budget Thursday, with 20 Republicans joining every Democrat voting against the measure.
From Fox News:
The 216-212 vote permits Republicans to begin work on a follow-up $1.5 trillion tax cut and move it through Congress without fear of blocking tactics by Democrats. The tax bill is the top item on the GOP agenda, would be Trump’s first major win in Congress — and, Republicans hope, a much-needed boost for the party’s political fortunes on the eve of next year’s midterm elections.
The budget is less fiscally responsible than an a House budget framework passed earlier this year that required spending constraints and cuts to welfare programs.
Many Republicans voting against the budget did so due to provisions that would eliminate state and local income tax deductions. Those lawmakers are exclusively from high tax states, and thus residents there have larger deductions for the local and state taxes paid.
Their position is comical. Perhaps instead of complaining about how removing such a deduction hurts their states more than others, they should instead focus on how their States’ HIGH TAXES hurt their residents more than others.
Luckily, North Carolina is moving in the right direction as far as taxes go.
“Republicans view passage of the tax measure as a career-defining dream, and its importance has only grown in the wake of the party’s debacle on health care. But the tax plan’s popularity is not a given with voters, and fissures among Republicans already threaten to slow the measure.
The underlying budget measure abandons the Republican Party’s longstanding promise to rein in deficits in favor of Trump’s boast of “massive tax cuts.” The measure drops proposed cuts to mandatory programs such as food stamps, though conservatives promise to take on spending cuts later.
“I still feel strongly about addressing unsustainable mandatory spending,” said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., who chairs the House Budget Committee. “I think we will tackle this important issue in the future. We don’t have a choice.”
The budget plan calls for $5 trillion in spending cuts over the decade, including cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the Obama-era health care law, though Republicans have no plans to actually impose those cuts with follow-up legislation. Some Democrats criticized the measure for ruthless spending cuts; others took the opposite approach, failing it for tackling the deficit.”
Spending cuts promises are about as empty as promises can be when it comes to Capitol Hill. Deficit projections are typically misguided when statically scoring tax cut plans, as the dynamic changes in economic activity resulting from individuals and business keeping more of their money is not accounted for.
Still, the scramble to close deficits with additional revenue, say from taxing 401(k) vehicles, as has been suggested by some Republicans, is sadly the only method most politicians can stomach.
If tax cuts result in lower revenue (though they most often result in more revenue), those holes should be plugged with real honest-to-goodness spending cuts. $4 TRILLION budgets surely have enough wasted spending or unethical redistribution within them to find deep cuts without endangering the defense of the nation or other core government functions.
Perhaps, though, tax reform and cuts will actually be accomplished before 2017 is in the books, and taxpayers will be able get themselves a few extra Christmas presents.