Speed Reads

Moving On

With health-care legislation dead, House Republicans kick off effort on tax reform

On Monday, the Republican hopes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year essentially died, but by Tuesday morning the GOP was already moving on to the next big battle, a tax overhaul. On Tuesday morning, the House Budget Committee released its 2018 budget blueprint, which calls for significant increases in defense spending matched by $203 billion in cuts to domestic social programs like Medicare, Social Security, federal employee benefits, and welfare over the next decade. Crucially, it also sets up a procedural mechanism that could allow Senate Republicans to overhaul the tax code with no support from Democrats.

"In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House," House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday, calling the blueprint "not just a vision for our country, but a plan for action" and "a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges."

The first challenge will be getting the budget plan approved in the House, starting with a committee markup on Wednesday and an expected committee vote on Thursday. The GOP's far-right Freedom Caucus and more centrist Tuesday Group are already attacking the budget as too little in cuts and too harsh, respectively. The increases in defense spending would also require approval from Senate Democrats, as they would exceed the caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act.