After months of infighting, House Republicans are unveiling a budget resolution Tuesday that would dramatically reshape the federal government, requiring more than $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs and set the path for a major overhaul of the tax code. But while Trump proposed taking that $54 billion from domestic agencies and foreign aid, the GOP budget plan would restore most of the cuts, trimming non-defense agencies by just $5 billion.
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"We've seen how this plays out before, when you vote for a budget thinking it's going to be one thing, on health care reform, and it's something different", said Rep. Jim Jordan, the former Freedom Caucus chairman.
Throughout the day, Sanford said he remained undecided as to whether he would introduce the amendment against the wishes of the party brass, and with no certainty of whether it would pass or not. While less optimistic than the White House's assumed 3 percent growth rate, both estimates far exceed the Congressional Budget Office's more conservative 1.6 percent estimate. Ranking Member John Yarmuth, D-Ky., called the budget disgraceful and others called the cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps draconian, several Republicans anxious what it envisions might not come to pass.
"They would have the votes to take down a tax reform bill anyway, so they don't need to hold the budget hostage", added Rep. Tom Cole, a budget committee member. The resolution lays out structural changes to Medicaid, transforming the program largely into a block grant for states to administer and adding work requirement for able bodied adults receiving benefits.
Members demanding tax reform details before agreeing to vote for the budget "isn't a fair understanding of the process", Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) told reporters July 18.
As the legislative weeks come to an end of the fiscal year 2017, they say that instead of negotiating a deal at the eleventh hour, the Republicans should negotiate with the Democrats otherwise it will yield different spending levels.
"The problem with the whole exercise is that it is created to pave the way for a huge tax cut", he said. Budget reconciliation was also the approach used to move a health care bill through the House-though it is now dead in the Senate.The House Budget Committee can give so-called reconciliation instructions to committees, but it can't dictate how the panels meet their numerical targets. The most contentious part is at least US$203 billion in cuts over a decade in "mandatory" spending on programmes such as Medicare and Social Security.
Democrats oppose the Republican budget and Republican plans for a tax reform bill that is likely to offer steep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
The proposed budget operates under a rosy assumption - that economic growth will progress at a rate of 2.6 percent annually. Budgetary reconciliation allows Congress to pass legislation with a simple majority in the Senate; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell controls a slim majority in the upper chamber, he can only afford to lose two votes and have Vice President Mike Pence break the tie. The Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress are not expected to unveil a tax plan until September.
GOP leaders generally fear that adding spending cuts to tax reform would only make the tax code rewrite more hard to pass. "But you know, I'm always a proponent of ... have a Plan A but always have a Plan B. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst".
The Freedom Caucus have managed to secure reductions worth $53 billion as a result of weeks of pushing higher mandatory spending cuts to offset discretionary spending in the proposed resolution.