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Paul Ryan's Budget Plan Narrowly Passes House

12:28 PM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., discusses his party's budget proposal before the House Rules Committee on Monday. PHOTO: J. Scott Applewhite, AP
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WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) --The U.S. House narrowly approved a conservative budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, 221-207, on Thursday on a largely party-line vote.

The fiscal blueprint does not have the force of law by outlines the GOP's priorities over a ten-year budget window to reduce the deficit and overhaul the Medicare system.

No Democrats voted for the plan.

The House also then passed a short-term spending bill to avert a government shutdown.

The long-term blueprint is similar to the two previous budgets authored by Ryan since Republicans took control of the House in 2010. Among the most cited and controversial proposals is a fundamental overhaul of Medicare to a premium support system for Americans 55 and younger. Future seniors would be given federal subsidies to buy their own health insurance in contrast to the current guaranteed benefit system.

Ryan's plan also achieves balance -- where the federal government does not spend more than it takes in in revenue -- in ten years. The timeline is a dramatic acceleration towards balance than Ryan's previous plan, but there was a groundswell of support for the more austere plan within the conservative rank-and-file.

The budget plan raises no new revenues and cuts the corporate tax rate. It also protects the Pentagon from cuts while slashing deeper into accounts that fund domestic agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Institutes of Health.

The Senate budget blueprint, authored by Democrats, is very different, focusing on increasing revenues by closing tax loopholes instead of dramatic spending cuts.

The House also overwhelmingly approved Thursday, 318-109, a federal spending bill to keep the government funded through Sept. 30, averting a March 27 shutdown. The spending bill includes measures to give the Pentagon and other agencies more flexibility to implement automatic spending cuts that kicked in March 1. The Senate passed the same bill yesterday.

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