Senate passes budget, paving way for tax reform debate | TheFencePost.com

Senate passes budget, paving way for tax reform debate

The Senate late Thursday passed a 2018 budget resolution, creating a pathway for a difficult debate over tax reform.

The vote was 51 to 49, with all Democrats and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., opposing the bill.

House Republicans praised the Senate bill.

"I applaud the Senate for passing a budget and appreciate adoption of a new Title 5 in the resolution to address the House's priorities," House Speaker Paul Ryan said.

"This action keeps us on track to enacting historic tax reform that will mean more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks for American families," Ryan said. "We want Americans to wake up in the new year with a new tax code, one that is simple and fair. Now it is time to meet this moment and deliver real relief to hardworking people."

But Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee who has been courted by Republicans including President Donald Trump to be an ally on tax reform, said she voted against the resolution because it "would gut Medicare and Medicaid by almost $470 billion and $1 trillion respectively, and make deep cuts to critical programs North Dakotans depend on to obtain affordable housing, heat for their homes, early education, Pell Grants, and more."

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"Simply, this bill hurts rural America and that's why I can't support it," Heitkamp said.

"I've long said I want to work on comprehensive, smart tax reforms that help rural economies, and voting against this budget doesn't change that. But for tax reform to work, Republicans and Democrats need to be at the table as it's drafted, and any proposal must support workers, families and retirees," Heitkamp said.