The Senate narrowly voted in favor of a $4 trillion budget on Thursday night, clearing the way for President Donald Trump and the Republicans to follow through on a key promise of massive tax cuts that Trump had championed as historic.
The party line vote, which saw Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) become the only Republican to vote against the budget, paves the way for the Trump administration to move toward its much-vaunted overhaul of the U.S. tax code, which has remained largely untouched for three decades.
The proposed tax cuts – which slice rates for individuals and corporations, dramatically simplify the filing process, eliminate trillions of dollars of deductions and special interest tax breaks, and lay out plans to repatriate trillions of corporate dollars stranded overseas – are also expected to grow the deficit by up to $1.5 trillion.
“These are reforms that change incentives and drive growth, and we’ve never done that before,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), a longtime advocate for pro-growth tax reform who has expressed that the cuts would have a widespread effect in growing American businesses and making families more prosperous.
After multiple failures in living up to the promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare, the Republicans have largely shifted their attention over to tax reform in an effort to achieve a major accomplishment before next year’s midterm elections. Given their narrow majority in both the House and the Senate, tax reform could prove crucial to either garnering more control or falling by the wayside.
Democrats have blasted the GOP budget for paving the way for a pro-corporate, pro-wealthy tax measure that will only benefit high earners.
“Unfortunately, there’s a big gap between the administration’s rhetoric on these issues and the reality of what is on paper,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who warned that the plan is “slanted overwhelmingly toward the very top.”