to vote on balanced budget in April
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[March 22, 2014]
By David Lawder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Republicans in the
U.S. House of Representatives plan to vote in April on a budget plan
that sticks to 2015 spending levels but reaches balance in 10 years,
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Friday.
Cantor, in a memo to lawmakers, said the plan from House Budget
Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will be part of his legislative agenda
in the next three weeks before a mid-April Easter recess.
Ryan is expected to start the process of drafting his fiscal 2015
budget resolution next Tuesday, when the House Budget Committee he
chairs gathers suggestions from House members in a special hearing.
Republicans have complained that President Barack Obama's budget
request proposed discretionary spending levels that were above those
set in a two-year budget deal negotiated last year between Ryan and
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray.
While Obama's plan offered ways to offset the increased spending,
some Republican lawmakers have said it was important to stick to the
"While the president's budget blows past the spending limit
previously agreed to, the House Republican budget, under the
leadership of Chairman Paul Ryan, will adhere to the agreed upon
spending limits and balance in ten years," Cantor said in the memo
to House Republicans.
Ryan's Republican budget last year reached balance in 10 years
largely through deep cuts to social programs, including the Medicaid
healthcare program for the poor. It aimed to shield the military
from automatic "sequester" spending cuts, and maintained Ryan's
controversial plan to effectively convert the Medicare program for
the elderly into a voucher for seniors to purchase private
insurance, a plan that reaps savings further in the future.
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Cantor's memo appeared to allow for a possible shift of funds from
domestic programs to defense spending. Following Russia's moves to
occupy and annex Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, pressure from
Republican lawmakers to cancel more of the defense spending cuts is
likely to increase.
His memo did not mention anything about maintaining the current
split between defense and domestic discretionary spending, a
provision Democrats see as critical to passage of the normal
spending bills needed to keep the government agencies operating
after October 1.
(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Prudence Crowther)
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