No matter how persuasive President
Trump is, it’s unlikely he can round up enough Democrats to get 60 votes
in the Senate for tax reform. That means Republicans will need to use
the Senate’s reconciliation process, which avoids the filibuster, to
pass their plan with 51 votes. But first the House and Senate must pass
a budget resolution—and soon.
A budget resolution sets spending levels and authorizes congressional
committees to prepare bills fulfilling the blueprint. With the
reconciliation plan in mind, this year’s resolution would set the size
of the tax reform and then instruct the House Ways and Means Committee
and the Senate Finance Committee to flesh out the provisions.
Gaining agreement on a budget resolution is always tough. No more than a
handful of lawmakers from the opposition party ever vote for the
majority’s resolution. It helps that Republicans control both the House
and Senate, but the GOP must still resolve its internal philosophical
House Republicans tend to insist on resolutions that balance the budget
within 10 years. This means resolutions that pledge to slow
substantially the growth of entitlement spending. Such promises are
rarely fulfilled. But putting them in the budget blueprint fuels
Democratic ads claiming Republicans will throw grandma off the cliff and
deprive poor children of free school lunches. Knowing this, Senate
Republicans tend to want resolutions that reach balance after 10 years.
Another GOP tension is between defense hawks, who want increased
military spending, and deficit hawks, who want all spending restrained
To continue reading Karl Rove's column in The Wall Street Journal, click
Karl Rove joined Fox News Channel as a political contributor in February
2008. He also currently serves as a columnist for the Wall Street
Journal. Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee
American Crossroads. His latest book is "The Triumph of William
McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters" (Simon & Schuster,
2015). Follow him on Twitter @KarlRove.