House panel approves budget measure that advances tax reform

A jogger runs past The U.S. Capitol Building at sunset in Washington, U.S. May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Zach Gibson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives took a new step toward tax reform legislation on Wednesday by approving a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that would allow the Senate to pass a sweeping tax code overhaul without Democratic support.

The House Budget Committee voted 22-14 along party lines to send the measure to the floor of the House for consideration by the full chamber, a day after the $4 trillion spending blueprint was unveiled.

But it was not clear how the measure would fare in the full House, where it could become embroiled in Republican infighting between conservatives and moderates similar to the political tug-of-war that caused healthcare legislation to disintegrate in the Senate this week.

Both the House and Senate must approve a budget agreement to unlock a legislative tool called reconciliation, which would allow Republicans to pass tax legislation with a simple majority in the Senate. Republicans control the chamber by only a 52-48 margin.

Democrats oppose the Republican budget and Republican plans for a tax reform bill that is likely to offer steep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

The House budget resolution would combine tax cuts in the same legislation as $203 billion in spending cuts to mandatory programs including food assistance for the poor.

Enough Republican conservatives to prevent its passage already oppose the plan, because they believe it does not go far enough to cut spending. But Republican moderates are against larger cuts.

Some House conservatives also want to see a Republican tax reform plan before supporting a budget that would facilitate its passage. The Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress are not expected to unveil a tax plan until September.

The budget resolution would also bundle a partial repeal of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law into the same legislation as taxes and spending cuts.

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kim Coghill