GOP bud­get could lead to tax re­write

New plan would add $1.5 tril­lion over 10 years to na­tional debt

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation -

WASH­ING­TON — Se­nate Repub­li­cans un­veiled a bud­get plan Fri­day that lays the ground­work for their ef­fort to over­haul the na­tion’s tax sys­tem, the top leg­isla­tive pri­or­ity for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and the GOP.

House and Se­nate pas­sage of the bud­get blueprint is re­quired in or­der to al­low Repub­li­cans to pass fol­low-on tax leg­is­la­tion this year. The am­bi­tious tax plan would lower rates for busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als. Trump de­scribed it Fri­day as a “gi­ant, beau­ti­ful, mas­sive, the big­gest ever in our coun­try, tax cut.”

The Se­nate Bud­get Com­mit­tee plans to vote on its plan next week. A com­pan­ion mea­sure is headed for a House vote next week as well.

The new bud­get plan would per­mit the up­com­ing tax mea­sure to add $1.5 tril­lion over the com­ing decade to the $20 tril­lion na­tional debt.

The two-step process is the only way, un­der con- gres­sional rules, for the tax pack­age to pass through the Se­nate with­out fear of Democrats block­ing it with a fil­i­buster. Repub­li­cans used the same process ear­lier this year in failed at­tempts to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act.

With­out the bud­get pas­sage, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky said in a state­ment, “Democrats will con­tinue to play par­ti­san pol­i­tics and ob­struct our ef­forts to get our econ­omy flour­ish­ing and grow­ing at its full po­ten­tial.”

More broadly, the Se­nate plan prom­ises a bal­anced bud­get over the com­ing decade, but it re­lies on rosy pro­jec­tions of eco­nomic growth and spend­ing cuts that Repub­li­cans have no plans to de­liver. It would keep Pen­tagon spend­ing mostly frozen at cur­rent lev­els, rather than the al- most $90 bil­lion in­crease de­manded by GOP mil­i­tary hawks.

The bud­get also con­tains a pro­vi­sion that could al­low the Se­nate to ap­prove leg­is­la­tion open­ing up drilling in the Arc­tic Na­tional Wildlife Refuge. That’s a long­time goal for Repub­li­cans in­clud­ing Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a mod­er­ate whose vote will be needed on tax leg­is­la­tion.

Alex Wong/Getty Im­ages

Repub­li­can lead­ers on Wed­nes­day pro­posed cut­ting tax rates for the mid­dle class, wealthy and busi­nesses.

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