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House Passes Bill Approving Deep Cuts To Medicare, Paving Way For Trump’s Tax Cut For The Rich

In a 219-206 vote, House Republicans on Thursday approved a budget resolution for 2018 that approves deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to shield President Trump’s tax proposal from a filibuster in the Senate.

The House passed its 2018 budget resolution in a party-line, but a total of 18 Republicans voted against the resolution, along with all the Democrats.

The legislation includes plans for trillions of dollars in spending cuts from programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, The Hill reports.

GOP lawmakers hailed the vote as meaningful because of the tax measure.

“We haven’t reformed this tax system since 1986. We need to pass this budget so we can help bring more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks for people across this country,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said during House floor debate.

Democrats blasted the bill for the same reason.

“This budget isn’t about conservative policy or reducing the size of our debt and deficits. It’s not even about American families. This budget is about one thing — using budget reconciliation to ram through giant tax giveaways to the wealthy and big corporations — and to do it without bipartisan support,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.

The budget reconciliation rules would allow Republicans in the Senate to pass tax reform without any Democratic votes, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can only afford two defections.

Republicans used the same strategy for ObamaCare repeal but failed, and are hoping for a better outcome on taxes.

Yet there are already signs of trouble, with some Republicans questioning whether the tax proposal would add too much to the deficit, and others balking at plans to eliminate a deduction for state and local taxes. The tax plan is now estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade, but that figure would grow if the state and local tax deduction is not eliminated.

The House budget leaves no room for tax reform to add to the deficit. Instead, it provides instructions for $203 billion in spending cuts from welfare programs in areas such as nutritional assistance and education.

The GOP tax reform framework unveiled last week would cut the top tax rate for the wealthy and lower taxes for corporations.

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