US House passes budget map, paving way for tax reform

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $4 trillion budget resolution for fiscal year 2018 that could help Republicans pass a tax reform proposal later this year.

By a narrow 216 - 212 vote, the bill includes a reconciliation process that will enable the Senate to pass President Donald Trump’s tax legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes instead of 60 that would need support from Democrats.

But the legislation that previously passed in the Senate and aims to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion in the next decade faced opposition in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Twenty Republican lawmakers voted against the measure, including five representatives from New York and three from New Jersey -- the states whose middle-class residents are expected to be most negatively affected by the proposed tax plan.

"We must provide middle class tax relief and lower the burdens on job-creating small businesses,” New York congressman John J. Faso said in a statement on his personal website. “I could not, however, vote in support of a budget resolution that singled out for elimination the ability of New York families to deduct state and local taxes.”

Congressman Leonard Lance of New Jersey released a similar statement.

"I opposed the budget blueprint today because the state and local tax deduction was specifically singled out for elimination under the proposal ... I could not support a budget blueprint with such language," he said on his website.

The tax reform legislation is expected to be formally introduced next week, while a draft is scheduled for early next month.

The Trump administration seeks to lower corporate taxes to make American companies more competitive in the global economy, but lower taxes could mean a higher national debt that currently stands above $20 trillion.