House passes GOP's deep-cut budget plan

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled House passed a tea party-flavored budget plan today that promises sharp cuts in safety-net programs for the poor and a clampdown on domestic agencies, in sharp contrast to less austere plans favored by President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies.

The measure, similar to previous plans offered by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., demonstrates that it’s possible, at least mathematically, to balance the budget within a decade without raising taxes.

But its deep cuts to programs for the poor like Medicaid and food stamps and its promise to abolish so-called “Obamacare” are nonstarters with the president, who won re-election while campaigning against Ryan’s prior budgets. It passed on a mostly party-line 221-207 vote.

The House measure advanced as the Democratic Senate debated its first budget since the 2009 plan that helped Obama pass his health care law.

Looking to the future, Democrats and Republicans staked out divergent positions over what to do about spiraling federal health care costs and whether to raise taxes to rein in still-steep government deficits.

The long-term GOP budget plan authored by Ryan offers slashing cuts to domestic agencies, the Medicaid health care plan for the poor and “Obamacare” subsidies while exempting the Pentagon and Social Security beneficiaries. The measure proposes shifting programs like Medicaid to the states but is sometimes scant on details about the very cuts it promises.

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