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How passing a budget makes GOP tax reform possible

Congressional Republicans cleared a big hurdle Thursday by pushing a budget resolution through the Senate that will allow them to pass tax reform. Hari Sreenivasan sits down with Lisa Desjardins to discuss why it matters and what’s next in the ongoing debate over a potential tax overhaul.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    It's been the focus of congressional Republicans for a while now: taxes, taxes, taxes. They cleared a big hurdle last night by pushing that budget resolution through the Senate.

    Now here to discuss why it matters and what's next in the ongoing debate over a potential tax overhaul, correspondent Lisa Desjardins.

    So, let's start with what happened.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    All right.

    The Senate passed a budget resolution. That's a nonbinding framework for how Congress should spend. Usually, it's not a big deal, Hari, but this year, it's a very big deal, because this budget resolution in theory gives Republicans the ability to use another procedure that will only need 50 votes, or all that is necessary, to pass tax reform.

    They have got to get a budget to get to that special 50-vote kind of reconciliation measure for the tax reform.

    Here's Speaker Paul Ryan on CBS this morning.

  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.:

    Speaker of the House: Our plane is in place, the train is on the tracks, and we're rolling down the track. And the whole point of getting tax reform done, increase people's paychecks, higher wages, faster economic growth, economy gets us healthier economy and more jobs.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    So, that's the Republican argument here: Tax reform will lead a better, sparked economy.

    But, of course, Hari, not all economists agree with that idea, and certainly Democrats disagree.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Both Democrats and Republicans would love all those things that he just said, but really the devil is in the details. What do we know about the specifics on how this kind of a tax overhaul would look?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Think of the budget resolution that passed last night as kind of a foundation for the home. And it tells us the direction Republicans are going in for tax reform.

    The most important thing of it, Hari, is they would allow up to $1.5 trillion in deficit spending, borrowing, for tax cuts. Now, Republicans generally don't like the add to the deficit. We have to see the details. Those haven't come out yet, but they are saying they're willing to borrow for these tax cuts.

    That was in the budget that was passed last night by the Senate.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    How do they lure some of those conservatives both in the Senate really and in the House?

  • Lisa Desjardins:


    They have to convince them that this is a once-in-a-generation change, not just a big tax cut, but also reforming the entire code. They plan to get rid of a lot of tax deductions, change corporate rates. It's all in the package, I think.

    But still some conservatives may not be comfortable with adding to the deficit.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Speaker Ryan presents it in a very polished manner. But what's next? What has to happen for this to pass?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    OK, it's time to pay attention now, because, this week, we may see the budget pass in the House. Once the budget passes both chambers, we are going to see probably an outline and specifics finally on tax reform.

    And then it will move very fast. We could see votes in the House by the end of November or even maybe the end of this month, some people are hoping.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right, Lisa Desjardins, thanks so much.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    My pleasure.

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