Republicans' tax legislation would set up automatic cuts to Medicare and other government programs, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.
The CBO said the GOP's planned net tax cut of roughly $1.5 trillion over the next decade would set up automatic spending cuts under Congress' "pay as you go" rule.
Medicare, the government's healthcare program for seniors, would see cuts of about $25 billion in 2018. Other programs, ranging from agricultural subsidies to social services block grants, would have cuts of about $85 billion to $90 billion, to be implemented by the Office of Management and Budget.
Congress could cancel those spending cuts. But doing so would require 60 votes in the Senate, meaning that Republicans would have to count on Democratic votes.
"Republicans would need Democratic votes to do it, requiring them to abandon their go-it-alone partisan strategy, which is only leading them on a path to failure and to putting our country in danger," said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who requested the analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.
Republicans are pushing toward passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act through the reconciliation process, which will allow them to avoid the Democratic filibuster. No Democrats have expressed support for the legislation.
Passing the law and setting up the automatic spending cuts would provide Democrats with another point of leverage at the end of the year, when Republicans will need Democratic votes to prevent a government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.