House Republicans have passed the Paul Ryan budget resolution, a sweeping plan that slashes long-term mandatory spending, goes under the discretionary spending targets set by the debt limit deal, cuts taxes for the rich and corporations, changes Medicare to a voucher program, eliminates Pell grants for hundreds of thousands of students, and generally authorizes just about every conservative wet dream you can name. And after all that, Ryan’s budget doesn’t even balance until 2040, because it’s nearly impossible to do so without anything on the revenue side.
The vote was relatively close, with the budget passing 228-191. Ten Republicans voted against the budget resolution, up from four last year. Here they are:
Walter Jones (NC), Jimmy Duncan (TN), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Chris Gibson (NY), Justin Amash (MI), Todd Platts (PA), Ed Whitfield (KY), David McKinley (WV), Denny Rehberg (MT), Joe Barton (TX).
Not too many of those votes are because the budget wasn’t conservative enough: that explains Huelskamp, Amash and maybe Barton. The others face tough re-election battles, or in the case of Rehberg are running for Senate in Montana. Walter Jones is just idiosyncratic. But I agree with Dave Weigel, 10 Republicans out of 238 isn’t that many, considering they’ve opened themselves up yet again to charges of ending Medicare as we know it (regardless of what Politifact says).
Other budgets got votes today as well:
Conservatives with the Republican Study Committee who want to cut spending more quickly introduced their own spending plan that called for balancing the budget within five years. It was defeated earlier on a 136 to 285 vote.
A Democratic budget authored by Van Hollen, which would cut deficits more slowly than the Republican plan with less severe cuts in federal programs, failed Thursday on a 163 to 262 vote.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney released this statement: [cont’d.]
House Republicans today banded together to shower millionaires and billionaires with a massive tax cut paid for by ending Medicare as we know it and making extremely deep cuts to critical programs needed to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. The Ryan Republican budget would give every millionaire an average tax cut of at least $150,000, while preserving taxpayer giveaways to oil companies and breaks for Wall Street hedge fund managers.
Today’s vote stands as another example of the Republican establishment grasping onto the same failed economic policies that stacked the deck against the middle class and created the worst financial crisis in decades. If the Ryan Republican budget is made a reality and the radical discretionary cuts fall across the board, by 2014, more than nine million students would see their Pell Grants fall by as much as $1100, and about 900,000 would lose their grants altogether. Clean energy programs would be cut nearly 20 percent, Head Start would offer 200,000 fewer slots per year, and critical medical research and science programs would see drastic cuts.
And then, of course, he went on about the President’s “balanced” plan with “shared responsibility.”
In addition, the house passed a 90-day surface transportation extension by a vote of 266 to 158. This came after two failed attempts to pass an extension on the suspension calendar. 37 Democrats crossed the aisle and voted for the short-term extension; 10 Republicans voted against it because they don’t like roads.
Jay Carney’s statement on that bill rebuked it as a “band-aid” but did not make a veto threat. Democrats definitely want the Senate version of the bill, which got 74 votes, to pass, and they are unhappy about another short-term extension (Jay Carney said that they should pass the Senate version “soon as the House gets back to work”). But given the short time frame, I’d expect the Senate to acquiesce and pass the House extension. If they don’t, however, chaos could ensue.