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Local members of Congress split by party on tax bill vote

Congressional Democrats in New York are criticizing a federal budget approved by the House on Thursday that paves the way for a tax reform plan that could include the elimination of the state and local deduction, or SALT.

The House narrowly passed a $4 trillion budget that clears a key hurdle toward President Donald Trump's goal of cutting taxes. The 216-212 vote allows Republicans to begin work on a $1.5 trillion tax cut and move it through Congress without fear of blocking tactics by Democrats.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Fairport Democrat who was on a conference call for reporters with other Democratic representatives from New York, derided the two Republican congressmen from New York State who voted in favor of the resolution, Chris Collins of Clarence and the Southern Tier's Tom Reed.

“This is a massive tax increase for my part of the state in Western New York," she said. "The two Republicans that voted for it are neighbors of mine and I'm absolutely baffled by their actions.”

Slaughter said that if Reed and Collins “had voted with us, had voted no, it would've been a tie - and we probably could have beaten the thing, this morning."

Reed thinks whatever compromise is eventually worked out will provide deductions for most people.

“I truly do believe, I’m more confident today than I’ve ever been that what we’re going to do is put together a compromise position on state and local tax deduction that’s going to allow 99 percent of the people in the district that I represent and across New York State to get a tax benefit,” Reed said.

He said if 1 percent of higher-income New Yorkers have to pay a little more in taxes, that is okay with him, saying the budget bill is important because it is part of an overall plan that is necessary to grow the economy.

Collins issued a statement saying he and his colleagues are "committed to sending President Trump a tax reform package in the coming weeks that will lead to explosive economic growth, create jobs and put money back in the pockets of working families.”