WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives narrowly approved on Thursday a budget resolution that clears the way for debate on President Donald Trump’s proposed overhaul of the tax code.
The vote was 216-212, as 20 Republicans joined all of the Democratic minority in opposing the measure.
The bill passed the Senate earlier.
Some Republican lawmakers reject an element of Trump’s proposal that calls for eliminating the federal income-tax deduction for state and local taxes.
The $4 trillion budget for 2018 includes $622 billion in spending on the military – more than the next eight top spenders combined – and envisions more than $1 trillion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade.
Tucked into the budget legislation is language mandating that tax reform be treated under the procedure known as reconciliation, which means the Senate could approve an overhaul by a simple majority, rather than needing 60 votes to defeat a filibuster.
Republicans hold 52 seats in the 100-member upper chamber.
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Republican Kevin Brady, said after Thursday’s vote that the Trump administration’s tax proposal will be presented in Congress Nov. 1.
The president has set a goal of passing tax reform before the end of this year.
The plan introduced by the White House in late September calls for slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, while reducing the number of tax brackets for individuals from seven to three, with a maximum rate of 35 percent.
David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who specializes in business and economics reporting, has determined that a wide array of fully legal accounting mechanisms allow the largest US corporations to reduce their actual tax rate to 12 percent.
Regarding taxes paid by individuals, investor Warren Buffett, the world’s third-richest person, has pointed out that his secretary is taxed at a higher rate than he is.