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GOP budget deadlock imperils Trump hopes for tax overhaul

If Republicans can’t pass a budget, forget about a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code — at least if they want a GOP-only approach that would avoid Democratic delaying tactics.

WASHINGTON — If Republicans can’t pass a budget, forget about a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code — at least if they want a GOP-only approach with President Donald Trump that would avoid Democratic delaying tactics.

Congressional Republicans are struggling to first figure out a budget, but despite weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations, they remain stuck.

Tea party conservatives are demanding spending cuts, while supporters of the military want even more money for the Pentagon than Trump sought. GOP pragmatists are balking at Trump’s cuts to popular domestic programs. Committee chairmen are guarding their turf.

Washington has a famously arcane budget process that rarely works as designed more than 40 years ago. But in times of unified government — when the same party controls both Congress and the White House — navigating the budget process is often the difference between success and failure.

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That’s because neither the budget, which is a nonbinding outline, nor follow-up legislation called a budget reconciliation bill can be filibustered in the Senate. The ongoing health care bill is such a reconciliation measure, and GOP leaders want to use the same approach to advance Trump’s tax agenda, which is next on the priority list.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., vows that Republicans will complete tax reform this year despite myriad obstacles. “We cannot let this once-in-a-generation moment slip,” Ryan wrote in prepared remarks for a speech he will deliver Tuesday to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is less optimistic. “You can’t get tax reform if you don’t have reconciliation instructions. You can’t get reconciliation…

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