The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $3.5 trillion budget plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on a 228 to 191 vote, largely along party lines.Read the rest here.
It was a dramatic departure from the night before, when lawmakers took up a plan based on the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction proposal.
Given a chance to vote for Simpson-Bowles for the first time — after many months of praise from officials in both parties for a proposal that would slash deficits by $4 trillion — the House rejected the measure soundly. Just 38 members voted for it. Supporters included 16 Republicans and 22 Democrats.
It appears that Simpson-Bowles, crafted more than a year ago by a bipartisan presidential commission, has become the idea a whole lot of people in both parties love to love — but virtually no one wants to vote for.
“In a way, it was a hypocrisy litmus test,” said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), of the Simpson-Bowles foray. “In their hearts, they want to be for this. . . . It’s a courage issue.”
Members rendered judgment on both plans in the midst of a series of budget votes this week ahead of the upcoming spring break recess that begins Friday.
The Ryan plan, which proposes cutting tax rates and a dramatic revamping of Medicare to curb costs for future retirees, faces all but certain rejection in the Senate but will frame the parties’ election-year debate on fiscal issues. The plan cuts $5.3 trillion over the next decade — entirely through deep cuts in entitlements and agency spending.