The House today passed the $1.03 trillion budget authored by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a plan headed for certain defeat in the Senate, but which provides each party an arsenal of political artillery for the 2012 elections.
By a vote of 228-191, the House approved sharps cuts in spending, including changes in Medicare, federal college grants, child nutrition, disaster relief and host of other domestic programs.
It also would cut taxes by more than $1 trillion for families earning more than $250,000, according to the White House.
The budget plan gained no Democratic votes and 10 Republicans crossed the aisle to oppose it.
Republicans championed the vote, noting that the Democrats who control the Senate have not passed a budget in nearly three years.
“The choice is clear,” said Republican Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri, chairman of the House Small Business Committee. “The House Republican budget cuts government spending and helps create small business jobs, while the president campaigns and the Senate does nothing.”
“We are on the precipice of a financial abyss,” said Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas. “This honest plan, which I was proud to vote for today…is yet another historic step taken by House Republicans as we strive to rein in out of control spending.”
Other area House Republicans who voted for the budget were Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long of Missouri, and Kevin Yoder and Mike Pompeo of Kansas. Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri opposed the Ryan plan.
"Budgets should be a window into the moral compass of our conscience as a nation," Cleaver said. "Our budget should support, protect and uplift hardworking American families, not hurt them."
Rep. Todd Akin, one of three Missouri Republicans running for the U.S. Senate, said, “This is a concrete plan that will put our economy back on track. Now is not a time to sit on the fence or to wait to see where the polls and political winds blow, it is time for action and leadership.”
Another Republican Senate hopeful, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, was more circumspect: “I would like to move towards a fairer flatter tax, shrink the size of government and balance the budget sooner. I am also taking a closer look at the Medicare revisions to make sure that Congress isn't treated better than our seniors and that seniors have the option of staying with the current Medicare plan."
The third GOP candidate, St. Louis businessman John Brunner, said that Ryan showed "courage and leadership," but declined to offer his views on the Wisconsin lawmaker's proposed budget.
As they did last year when Ryan first proposed a budget blueprint, Democrats seized on its goals to underscore the sharp divide between the two parties on fiscal matters. Each side hopes its views will resonate with the voters in a year when the economy is the number one concern.
The White House noted that among its financial impacts, the Ryan plan would cut: Pell Grants, which help finance college, by more than $800 per recipient in Missouri and Kansas; elementary and secondary school aid by $86 million in Missouri and $43 million in Kansas; and Head Start rolls by nearly 7,000 children in Missouri, and by almost 3,000 in Kansas.
The White House also estimated that nationally, 19 million people would lose health insurance under Medicaid, the program that provides coverage to the poor.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, said: “It’s a real pathway to prosperity. I think it’s high time that we’re serious about actually solving America’s fiscal problems. The first step is actually doing a budget.”