House Approves Ryan Budget Plan to Cut Spending, Taxes - 2chambers
The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $3.5 trillion budget plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) on a 228 to 191 vote, largely along party lines.
The plan aims to curb exploding deficits through deep cuts in domestic programs, while lowering tax rates for individuals and businesses.
The plan will be rejected by the Democratic-majority Senate. But the House vote is significant for the opportunity it presented both parties to lay down a marker on the nation’s key fiscal issues heading into the November election campaign.
The House vote breakdown was 228 Republicans in favor, 181 Democrats and 10 Republicans opposed.
Republicans said the budget represented an honest attempt to tackle the nation’s growing trouble with debt.
“We have an obligation, not just a legal obligation, but a moral obligation to do something about it,” Ryan said on the House floor Wednesday.
But Democrats said it would cut deficits by hitting programs relied on by the poor and vulnerable, like Medicaid, food stamps, education and other programs.
They said they were eager to use the Ryan plan as the linchpin of an election year argument that Republicans favor the wealthy over the middle class and are using deficits as an excuse to shrink domestic programs they’ve long opposed.
“Because our Republican colleagues refuse to ask millionaires to contribute one cent to deficit reduction, they hit everyone and everything else,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) during House debate Wednesday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that the Ryan plan would create “a segmented replacement for Medicare that would burden seniors and end the program as we know it.”
In many ways, the debate and the vote were a repeat of a House debate over a Ryan plan introduced a year ago. Democrats were convinced they won the political upper hand in that battle and have signaled they will use Ryan’s plan and its Medicare adjustments through the November election.
But the GOP is convinced that independent voters are deeply concerned about government spending and that their passage of a detailed budget plan undercuts President Obama portrayal of a do-nothing Congress. The Senate, by contrast, has not passed a budget a three years.
Under Ryan’s blueprint, the Medicare eligibility age would rise over time beginning in 2023 from 65 to 67. In the future, seniors would be given government assistance to purchase private health insurance plans or could continue to take part in the current fee-for-service model. Spending would be capped, meaning risks and costs could shift to seniors as health care costs rise.