Senate Republicans have passed a budget blueprint that could enable them to pass a tax plan without any Democratic votes.
The budget resolution would allow for Congress to enact dramatic tax cuts that would add up to $1.5 trillion to the national deficit. Democrats have blasted their GOP colleagues' tax plan, asserting that it would disproportionately benefit the wealthy and could lead to nearly $1.5 trillion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts over the next decade.
On Oct. 19, the Senate passed a budget blueprint for the fiscal year 2018 by a vote of 51 to 49. The budget will allow Senate Republicans to pass a tax plan that adds up to $1.5 trillion to the national deficit by 2027.
The blueprint also created a budget resolution that would allow Senate Republicans to pass a tax plan with a simple majority instead of a filibuster-proof 60 votes, meaning that they can craft their tax legislation without requiring any input from their Democratic peers, The New York Times reports.
The budget blueprint also created a budget resolution that would allow Senate Republicans to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling with a simple majority.
While Democrats and independents all voted against the budget, GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only Senate Republican to reject the blueprint.
"I could not in good conscience vote for a budget that ignores spending caps that have been the law of the land for years and simply pretend it didn't matter," Paul said in a statement, according to ABC News.
President Donald Trump took to social media to praise Senate Republicans after the budget vote.
"Great news on the 2018 budget [Senate Majority Leader, GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky]--first step toward delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for the American people!" Trump tweeted on Oct. 20.
The budget also proposed cutting over $1 trillion from Medicaid and $420 billion from Medicare over 10 years to offset the deficit created by the planned tax cuts. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Republicans over voting for a budget blueprint that would make deep cuts to the programs.
"This nasty and backwards budget green-lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans," Schumer said in a statement.
On Oct. 18, Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont proposed several amendments to the 2018 budget blueprint.
Sanders proposed an amendment that would have prohibited any tax cuts being given to the top 1 percent of wealthiest Americans, while Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin proposed an amendment that would have reinstated a Senate rule that prohibited any tax cuts adding to the federal deficit from being enacted through simple-majority votes. The GOP-majority in the Senate voted down both proposals, The Nation reports.
Sanders released a statement blasting the final budget blueprint, asserting: "This is not a bad budget bill, it is a horrific budget bill."
Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan accused his Republican colleagues of using the budget process to create an avenue to pass a tax plan in bad faith.
"Passing this budget is only a requirement to pass a tax bill with as few votes as possible, without input or buy-in from members of the minority," Peters said.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham argued before the budget vote that if his party did not dramatically cut taxes, it would "be the end of us as a party, because if you're a Republican and you don't want to simplify the tax code and cut taxes, what good are you to anybody?"