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GOP budget plan passes committee on party-line vote

The House budget committee passed the plan 19-18; two Republicans voted against the bill because it didn't go far enough.

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Republicans on a key House panel Wednesday muscled through a contentious GOP budget plan to sharply cut federal health care spending and safety-net programs like food stamps as the chief means to attack trillion-dollar-plus deficits.

The House Budget Committee approved the GOP plan on a near party-line 19-18 vote, readying it for a House vote next week. Two tea party favorites, Republican Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan, opposed the measure for not going far enough, joining Democrats who said it goes too far.

The GOP plan is nonbinding but calls for repealing President Barack Obama's health care law while transforming Medicare into a voucher-like system in which the government subsidizes purchases of health insurance on the private market instead of directly paying doctor and hospital bills.

The Medicare proposal won't be the subject of follow-up legislation under the arcane budget process on Capitol Hill. Nor do Republicans plan to pass a detailed proposal to overhaul the nation's complicated, loophole-ridden tax code this year.

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