Senate Republicans took the first step Thursday evening toward passing a tax plan and fulfilling a long-held campaign pledge.
Senators narrowly voted 51-49 to pass the fiscal 2018 budget after a grueling hours-long marathon on the Senate floor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined with every Democrat and independent to vote against the bill.
The spending blueprint is key to Republicans' efforts to pass tax reform because it includes instructions that will allow the plan to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
A last-minute amendment by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) adopting technical and procedural language from the House budget may expedite the budget’s final passage.
A House GOP source says the amendment seems sufficient to avoid a conference committee between the two chambers, and allow the House to simply pass the Senate resolution.
“Passing this budget is critical to getting tax reform done, so we can strengthen our economy after years of stagnation under the previous administration,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
With a 52-seat majority, McConnell had a narrow path to getting the votes needed to clear the budget through the upper chamber.