The Senate narrowly passed the blueprint for how the U.S. government will spend $4 trillion in its 2018 budget late Thursday. But a senior Republican says the whole process is a “hoax” designed to push through plans for a GOP tax bill.
“This is the biggest hoax cast upon the American people ever that this budget process even exists. The only thing about this that matters is in preparation for tax reform,” said Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee before voting on the bill.
While Corker voted for the budget in the 51-49 vote, he said that “unless we create a real budget process, which this is not, our country’s fiscal situation is going to continue to go down the tube.”
The new budget will leave much of the same spending made in 2017 in place, but it outlines $473 billion in cuts from the federal healthcare program Medicare and $1 trillion from Medicaid over the next decade.
The budget also includes a provision known as reconciliation that allows Republicans to pass a tax bill with a filibuster-proof 51-vote majority in the Senate. This means that they don’t need to win over Democratic support for the tax bill.
“Great news on the 2018 budget @SenateMajLdr McConnell—first step toward delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for the American people!,” President Donald Trump tweeted early Thursday.
The budget lays the groundwork for the president’s new tax bill, the next major legislative push after his failure to rally support for his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
In the tax bill the president and Republicans promise to dramatically overhaul the U.S. tax code for the first time since the 1980s.
Trump says he wants to end the Estate Tax on fortunes of more than $11 million per family, which could save him and his ultra rich cabinet members billions of dollars in taxes. The White House has said the bill will cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. The bill is being written to cut rates for individuals and cancel trillions of dollars in deductions and tax breaks.
The tax cuts are expected to add roughly $1.5 trillion to America’s deficit over the next ten years. A Congressional Budget Office report warned early this year that Trump’s tax reform proposals could actually add an extra $6 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.
Democrats derided passage of the budget. “The bottom line on this budget is that it's a right-wing fantasy document that paves the way for a hyper-partisan process on tax reform and trillions of dollars in handouts to big corporations and the wealthy,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking member on the Committee on Finance which writes tax law.
Senator Corker said he would disband the budget process altogether, because it doesn’t give Congress control over government spending and “has no impact on anything whatsoever affecting the American people.”
“We have no mechanism to control real spending, 70 percent of which is mandatory, which is not even covered by this, y’all understand that, so this is a hoax,” Corker said. “If I were chairman of the Budget Committee, I would disband it.”
Corker announced last month that he won't seek re-election next year.
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