Posted: 8:56 pm Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

GOP chalks up budget win in House 

By Jamie Dupree

Overcoming internal disagreements, Republicans on Wednesday pushed a budget blueprint through the House which would balance the budget by 2024, mainly by squeezing trillions of dollars in savings from social benefit programs.

“Today, the House passed a pro-growth, balanced budget that establishes a stark contrast between our vision for the future, and that of the President,” said Speaker John Boehner after the vote in a written statement.

It was an important victory for Boehner, who has struggled to keep Republicans together in the House in recent months on a variety of issues.

The vote was 228-199, with 17 Republicans voting against the budget outline.

The budget plan would also allow Republicans to use an expedited legislative procedure, known as budget reconciliation, to approve a bill to repeal the Obama health law, push ahead with tax reform and enact reforms in Medicare.

The GOP budget outline was in doubt last week, as defense hawks demanded additional spending for the military and fiscal hawks were reluctant to endorse extra resources.

“Our effort to make certain that the defense and the security of the American people came first was successful,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), who had led a group of Republicans in pressing for additional resources for the Pentagon.

The plan would not raise the spending caps for the Pentagon; instead the money would be funneled into defense by way of a special war fund that’s been used to fund overseas operations of the military, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While Republicans celebrated, Democrats denounced the plan.

“This evening the House Republicans made clear that once again their priority is to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires and return our economy to the same top-down economics that has failed the American people before,” the White House Press Secretary said in a statement.

“It strips 16 million Americans of their health care coverage,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said of the GOP budget. “It dismantles Medicare on the road to privatization.”

The arguments were much the same across the Capitol, as Republican Senators hoped to push their own version of the ‘budget resolution’ to approval as soon as late Thursday night.

The non-binding plans would still have to be finalized through House-Senate negotiations after Easter.

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