The Senate is in the midst of a 50-hour “vote-a-rama” on various amendments to the budget resolution but appears on track to pass a bill on Friday.
Senate Democrats girded for the three-day budget battle by preparing 20-plus amendments that will force Republicans to go on record in support of Medicare and Medicaid cuts to pay for future tax cuts. Senate Republicans have been open about the budget resolution being a vehicle for passing tax reform through the reconciliation process. Democrats also offered amendments that would block Republicans’ plan to repeal the estate tax and the state and local tax deduction.
“This tax plan is a gut shot to the middle class and all of Upstate New York’s economy that not only strips away the vital state and local tax deduction and personal exemptions, but also goes so far as to undermine support for Medicare and Medicaid,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Businesses and elected officials throughout New York State are sounding the alarm on the Republican tax plan that punishes middle-class families while larding massive rewards to the already-rich and to profitable corporations.”
In order to pave the way for tax reform, Senate Republicans need to pass a budget resolution that would allow tax cuts to raise the deficit by as much as $1.5 trillion over 10 years. As of now, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the only Republican who says he won’t vote for the budget as written because it raises the deficit.
But even with Paul’s opposition, it appears Senate leaders have the votes to get the budget passed, particularly with ailing Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) having returned to Capitol Hill for this week’s vote.
“We can’t afford to lose many but we can afford to lose one if we have to,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX). “I would love to get everybody together. But that may or may not be possible.”