WASHINGTON - US House Republicans passed congressman Paul Ryan's deficit-cutting budget plan on Thursday, setting it up as a central theme for their election-year campaign efforts and as a massive target for Democratic attacks over healthcare cuts.
The Ryan blueprint, which proposes to cut tax rates and slow the growth of federal debt at the expense of social programs, won House approval on a strict party-line vote of 228-191. Ten Republicans voted against it, largely reflecting desires among fiscal conservatives for even deeper spending cuts.
The measure faces certain death in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but some of its components, especially reforms to the Medicare healthcare program for the elderly, will live on in campaign ads, debates and speeches for months to come.
Republicans, including presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, are portraying the Ryan budget as a bold, brave step toward shrinking deficits that have ballooned to trillion-dollar levels during each year of Democratic President Barack Obama's first term.