Tax Reform is not technically a spending bill, which can otherwise be passed with simple majority. Why has it passed with simple majority instead of 60 votes?

Currently senate is waiting on 60 votes for passing the spending bill. However, when it comes to spending and revenue, Congress can pass things by majority vote. Right?

  • 3
    All legislation passes with a majority vote. For most legislation, 60 votes are required to force a vote in the Senate, but in the subsequent vote, a simple majority suffices. Furthermore, the 60 votes to force the vote are only required if someone is trying to block the vote through a filibuster. If nobody filibusters, 60 votes are unnecessary.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 2:26

1 Answer 1


The rule isn't that spending bills can pass with a simple majority. The rule is that up to two bills a year can be passed via budget reconciliation. This is limited to one spending bill and one revenue bill or to one bill regarding both spending and revenue.

This tax reform was their one revenue bill this year. They could still do one spending bill.

The problem that was originally being addressed was that they were having difficulty passing one budget a year with a supermajority requirement. So they made it possible to pass one or two bills with a simple majority under certain limited circumstances. Over time, they've gotten better at exploiting those limited circumstances.

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but those bills also have to be paid for, which means, they could only cut so much taxes as the passed budget allowed. No budget bill, (which the Democrats helped pass), then the tax bill is much smaller if anything at all. That's also why some of the tax cuts go away in 8 years. They had a limit on what could be cut.
    – userLTK
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 3:54
  • 2
    The budget was also passed by a simple majority. And some cuts go away in ten years unless extended later, not eight. There was an overall limit of a $1.5 trillion increase in the deficit within the ten year period and no increase is allowed after that.
    – Brythan
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 4:23
  • "The rule is that up to two bills a year" I believe that this is specifically per fiscal year
    – user102008
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 22:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .