- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2017

Senate Republicans on Friday unveiled their 2018 budget resolution, setting the stage for a committee mark-up next week and laying the groundwork for Republicans to pass their overhaul to the tax code.

“This budget resolution puts our nation on a path to balance by restraining federal spending, reducing tax burdens, and boosting economic growth. It is also the first important step in providing Congress with the tools it needs to enact tax reform that will grow America’s economy and strengthen hardworking families and small businesses,” said Sen. Mike Enzi, Wyoming Republican and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

The resolution contains language that paves the way for the Senate Finance Committee to pass a tax package that could increase deficits by up to $1.5 trillion, and sets a deadline of Nov. 13 for the tax-writing panels in the House and Senate to submit their plans.

“With this budget, the Senate has taken a critical first step to advance a tax overhaul to turn our nation’s economic tide,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican.

Republicans need to advance a budget resolution in order to unlock a fast-track tool they intend to use to bypass a potential Democratic filibuster of their tax package, and the full House is expected to take up its own non-binding 2018 budget resolution next week.

The Senate budget plan balances in 10 years through a combination of economic growth assumptions and spending cuts of $5.1 trillion.

For 2018, the budget includes $549 billion for defense spending, as well as an additional $77 billion for the military’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund.

It includes $516 billion for non-defense spending in 2018, as well as an additional $7 billion for disaster relief.

The 2018 spending levels in the Senate’s budget are in line with projected mandatory caps for defense and non-defense spending under the 2011 Budget Control Act, but the document provides leeway for increased defense spending if the caps are raised, which lawmakers have done multiple times in the past.

Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent and ranking member of the budget committee, called the document “one of the most destructive budgets in modern American history.”

“At a time when the middle class is shrinking and over 40 million Americans are living in poverty, we need a budget that reflects the needs of the working families of our country, not just the wealthy, the powerful and large campaign contributors,” Mr. Sanders said.

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