WASHINGTON (AP) — Mixing deep cuts to safety-net programs for the poor with politically risky cost curbs for Medicare, Republicans controlling the House unveiled an election-year budget blueprint Tuesday that paints clear campaign differences with President Barack Obama.
The announcement reignited a full-throated budget battle. Republicans cast themselves as stepping up to a federal deficit crisis long ignored by both parties, while Democrats and their allies responded with promises to protect the elderly and the poor from drastic cuts they said would harm the most vulnerable Americans.
The GOP plan doesn’t have a chance of becoming law this year – the Democratic-controlled Senate has no plans to even take it up – but it provides a sharp election-season contrast to the budget released by Obama last month. His proposal would rely on tax increases on the wealthy to curb trillion-dollar-plus deficits but for the most part would leave alone key benefit programs such as Medicare.
The Republican proposal, released by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, would wrestle the federal spending deficit to a manageable size in short order, but only by cutting Medicaid, food stamps, Pell Grants and a host of other programs that Obama and other Democrats have promised to defend.
The plan calls for steep drops in personal and corporate tax rates in exchange for clearing away hundreds of tax deductions and preferences. It would eliminate oft-criticized corporate tax boondoggles but also tax deductions and credits claimed by the poor and middle class.
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