Senate Passes $4 Trillion Budget Blueprint
WASHINGTON - The Senate has passed a $4 trillion budget blueprint that is a major step forward for President Trump's ambitious promises for "massive tax cuts and reform."
The 51-49 vote sets the stage for debate later this year to dramatically overhaul the U.S. tax code, cutting rates for individuals and corporations while clearing away trillions of dollars' worth of deductions and special-interest tax breaks.
The vote on the budget resolution was largely along party lines. Sen. Rand Paul, (R-Ky) was the lone Republican to vote against the budget. In a statement, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr. Trump "applauds" the Senate for the approval.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) told CBS News after the vote that this is an "important first step to getting tax relief. " Hoeven said it was the "goal" to approve the tax reform by the end of the year.
All 48 Senate Democrats and independents voted against the budget blueprint. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called the budget a " bad budget for the country" and said he hoped "public will really focus on what's happening."
"I was disappointed that they got the votes to send this on to the next step in the process," Van Hollen told CBS News. "And I hope as the American people focus on what's actually in this proposal, they'll see that it's very bad for the country."
The tax cuts would add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the coming decade, however, as Republicans shelve worries about the growing budget deficit in favor of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rewrite tax laws.
When reconciled with the House budget plan, the nonbinding measure would set up special procedures to pass follow-up tax legislation without the threat of a filibuster by Senate Democrats.
Soon after the vote, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget condemned the budget blueprint.
"While the House budget includes real savings and tax reform that doesn't blow a hole in the debt, the Senate budget is just the opposite," the Committee said. "No lawmaker can acknowledge our massive debt problem, argue against tax increases, and then pass a budget that only calls for $1 billion in savings out of a possible $47 trillion in spending and claim to be fiscally responsible – there is no universe in which this would be considered responsible."