House Charges Ahead With Budget Plan

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The Republican budget plan goes to the full House for a vote Thursday.

The plan, crafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, would cut more than $5 trillion from the budget over the next 10 years. While the Pentagon is largely spared--the plan actually calls for the reinstatement of almost $250 billion cut through last year's budget agreement--many social programs that benefit the poor are on the chopping board, outraging Democrats.

The measure calls for much deeper cuts than the GOP's plan last year, which itself was considered draconian by many Democrats at the time. Under the budget plan, sweeping cuts would be made to a number of unspecified low-income programs, while the food stamp program would be transferred entirely to the states. It also calls for deep cuts upward of $800 billion over the next decade to the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled.

In line with Ryan's controversial plan released last year, the new budget blueprint would transform Medicare into a voucher-like system in which the government subsidizes purchases of health insurance on the private market instead of directly paying doctor and hospital bills. Democrats charge it would essentially eliminate Medicare altogether.

The plan also contains a proposal to lower the top individual and corporate tax rates by rolling back a variety of tax breaks.

The GOP plan also has a non-binding call to repeal the president's health care law.

Republicans praised the plan for taking on deficits that threaten to swamp the economy if left unchecked, while Democrats assaulted it for awarding big tax cuts for the wealthy and forcing seniors to pay a far larger share of their health care costs.

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