U.S. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins split with fellow Republicans on a budget vote Thursday that paves the way for the party to pass a massive tax package.
Jenkins has been an avid supporter of Republicans’ efforts to cut taxes and sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, but she voted against a budget resolution that makes it easier for the party to accomplish reform. The resolution passed 216-212. Kansas’ three other House members voted for it.
At issue for Jenkins was balancing the federal budget. She said she was disappointed the budget resolution didn’t include more spending cuts, but she said she would continue to work on “pro-growth tax reform to make our code simpler and fairer for all.”
“For years I have been taking federal officials to task for presenting budgets that do not include adequate spending reforms to bring our budget into balance,” Jenkins said. “Republicans control the House, Senate and the White House — we should be passing a budget that reforms mandatory spending and balances over time. Passing tax reform is critical, but we must stop spending more money than we take in.”
Spokesman Michael Byerly said Jenkins would like to see reductions in mandatory spending programs, like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Republican, praised the budget’s efforts to reduce spending in a statement.
“Most importantly, today’s vote puts us on a path to reforms to make the first $24,000 of a middle class family’s income tax-free, to doubling the child tax credit used by 22 million Americans, and to lowering rates and simplifying the tax code,” Yoder said.
Republican Rep. Roger Marshall said in a statement the budget vote was “all about getting to tax reform.”
“Today is historic in that it opens the door for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to truly reform, simplify and lower the tax burden Kansas families have shouldered for too long,” Marshall said.
Rep. Ron Estes praised the vote in a statement released Thursday.
“Today we’re one step closer to fixing our outdated tax code, which over the past three decades has grown to be more than 74,000 pages,” Estes said.
Jenkins has defended the party’s plan repeatedly from comparisons to the Kansas tax cuts championed by Gov. Sam Brownback. The Kansas Legislature rolled those back earlier this year. Jenkins and other Republicans have promised the tax plan will be revenue-neutral.