House Republicans hope to accelerate tax reform next week by quickly endorsing a Senate budget proposal that would let them pass a tax bill without the threat of a filibuster by Democrats, and is also looking to impose new sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program.
The Senate, meanwhile, will take up a House-passed bill that would provide $36.5 billion in disaster aid to states and territories recovering from hurricanes and wildfires.
Both the House and Senate next week will focus primarily on tax reform, which they hope to complete by the end of the year. House Republicans said Friday they are eager to roll out tax legislation and begin moving a bill through committee and a floor vote.
The Senate passed a budget proposal late Thursday and called for the House to take up their $4 trillion plan, which would pave the way for a $1.5 trillion tax cut.
The House passed a different budget plan earlier this month, but Senate Republicans, at the request of House GOP leaders, approved amendments to their bill Thursday that would make it easier for House Republicans to simply approve the Senate-passed version.
"There is a very real possibility that the House clears this next week," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said Friday.
House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black, R-Tenn., in a statement Friday called for "swift passage" of the Senate budget resolution in the House and said she is "pleased that the final version included some changes that reflect many ideas offered in our plan and also has the support of President Trump."
Republicans may be willing to overlook some significant differences in the two plans since budget blueprints are rarely followed when it comes to writing spending legislation.
The Senate bill, for instance, adheres to federal spending caps while the House bill does not. The House bill reduces the growth of entitlement costs while the Senate bill does not address entitlement spending.
Another major item up in the House next week is the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act. The bill won unanimous approval from the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier in October and is expected to be considered under special rules limiting debate time and requiring two-thirds majority for passage.
The measure would expand sanctions against Iran, which has continued to sponsor terrorism and pursue a ballistic missile program that could be used in the future to launch nuclear weapons.
"It is Congress's responsibility to work with the executive branch on a clear-eyed strategy to stop Iran's reckless behavior," Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner.
The Senate will begin the week with a vote on whether to advance a disaster aid package that some believe does not provide enough funding for states and territories recovering from recent natural disasters.
The $36.5 billion package mostly replenishes the Federal Emergency Management Agency and bails out the insolvent national flood insurance program.
Lawmakers from Texas, Florida, California, and other states are seeking additional money for direct use by the states to recover from Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria as well as western wildfires. But President Trump encouraged the Senate to take the bill before it now, and assured Republicans last week he would send another disaster aid funding request in mid-November.
Some of the lawmakers, including Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., have put a procedural hold on Trump's pick to serve as the Office of Management and Budget deputy, Russell T. Vought, as a way to ensure the president sends the new request. The hold slows down nominations but does not block them.
Texas lawmakers are seeking $18 billion in federal disaster aid to help the state recover from flooding caused by Harvey, while Florida lawmakers want $27 billion to help the state and in particular the citrus growers following Hurricane Irma.