Saturday, 18 November, 2017

House Republicans Release 2018 Budget Proposal

U.S. President Donald Trump waves to supporters as he arrives at the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster New Jersey Under Donald Trump's Tax Plan, the Rich Would Get Richer and the Poor Poorer, Report Shows
Christy Curtis | 21 July, 2017, 00:30

House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black, R-Tenn., on Tuesday released a fiscal year 2018 budget proposal that calls for a $10 billion cut in programs under the control of the House Agriculture Committee over 10 years. The bill promises to balance the budget and paves an easier path to tax reform through reconciliation - at the cost of billions of dollars in cuts to social programs, including Medicaid and Medicare.

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"This has been a very, very challenging experience for all of us", the Kentucky Republican said.

The House budget proposes increasing the base national defense budget by $70.5 billion, from $551 billion in fiscal year 2017 to $621.5 billion in fiscal year 2018.

House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, delivered the message in a meeting with top Republican senators in the Capitol on Tuesday and said discussions had been positive.

With efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act flagging in the Senate, many Republicans turned their eyes toward tax reform as the party's best chance for a major legislative win this year. But they spring back to life in the House budget resolution, and that would cost NY upwards of $7 billion every year. "I don't think you can connect the votes today and say I'm not going to vote for the train vehicle, because all that does is make absolutely sure that you don't have tax reform".

The amendments seemed created to either tout Democratic priorities - such as climate change - embarrass Republicans - such as an amendment demanding full funding of the Russian Federation investigation into President Trump - or created to entice some of its members - such as an amendment to eliminate the OCO, which has been used as a budget gimmick and is despised by fiscal conservatives. The bill is expected to be put up for a vote to advance within the chamber on Wednesday. And with more than $ 4 trillion savings promised by mandatory programs like Medicare, the plan suggests that only $ 203 billion will be spent this year.

But Republicans are using the same budget reconciliation process for tax reform that they used for health care, which allows them to bypass a filibuster in the Senate and pass a plan without Democratic support. "Critically, this budget lays a pathway for Congress to pass, and President Trump to sign, pro-growth tax reform into law".

While it is a nonbinding guide for future congressional action, the 125-page budget blueprint reads like a Republican wish list of spending and tax cuts.

The Republicans will be patient and let Senate do their job with the proposal as they have no plans to alter the healthcare assumptions of the budget plan.

The plan in the House GOP blue print would consolidate tax brackets and cut rates, repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, and adopt a territorial tax system that would only tax the domestic income of multi-national corporations.

While they want details on the tax reform package, they're also frustrated by the budget itself.

"It would cause pain to tens of millions of Americans, especially struggling families and others who have fallen on hard times, and would cut deeply into areas important to future economic growth, from education to basic scientific research".

The GOP plan also proposes a 10-year, $150 billion cut to food stamps, though the Agriculture Committee would be directed to come up with no more than $10 billion.

Black, taking over as House budget chairman from Georgia Republican Tom Price, now Trump's secretary of health and human services, proposes to add almost $30 billion to the president's $668 billion request for defense, AP reported. Some of the members have good ideas, but "aren't appreciating the scale" of tax reform, because Ways and Means members want to entirely rewrite the code instead of just lowering rates, he said.

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