President Donald Trump’s drive to overhaul the U.S. tax code headed for a pivotal moment on Thursday, with Senate Republicans poised to approve a budget measure that would help them pass tax legislation without Democratic support.
The Senate and the House of Representatives must agree on a fiscal year 2018 budget resolution for Republicans to meet their goal of enacting a tax bill and sending it to Trump for his signature by the end of this year.
The budget resolution contains a legislative tool called reconciliation, which would enable Republicans, who control the 100-seat Senate by a 52-48 margin, to move tax legislation through the Senate on a simple majority vote. Otherwise, tax reform would need 60 votes and would likely fail.
Although Republican Senator Rand Paul, a fiscal hawk, has threatened to oppose the budget resolution, Senate Republicans appeared to have enough support to approve it with at least 50 votes, along with a possible tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.