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Top Story: The GOP Budget. What have they wrought on the nation?
(Reuters) http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/17/us-usa-budget-republicans-idUSKBN0MD1KU20150317 - U.S. House Republicans on Tuesday proposed higher defense spending and deep cuts to social services including healthcare for the poor in an aggressive new budget plan that seeks to eliminate deficits by 2024. The blueprint from House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, which has almost no chance of becoming law, prescribes $5.468 trillion in spending cuts and interest savings over 10 years compared to current policies. The document assumes $2 trillion in 10-year savings from full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the signature healthcare reform law that President Barack Obama has vowed to defend.
Price's plan would cut $913 billion in Medicaid spending by shifting it to a grant program to allow states to tailor the healthcare program for the poor. It would devolve other programs to states through grants, including food stamps and transportation funding. Pell grants for college tuition would also shrink.
Price's plan could struggle to gain the support of deeply divided House Republicans. It seeks to skirt "sequester" spending caps, nominally keeping them in place to please deficit hawks while boosting military spending by adding nearly $40 billion to an off-budget war funding account.
Like previous Republican budgets, Price's plan contains no tax increases. It assumes Congress will enact revenue-neutral reforms to the tax code to reduce rates while ending many tax breaks. But it leaves the details for later.
Price said tax reform and other proposals, including a roll-back of financial regulations enacted in 2010, would unleash stronger economic growth that will help slash deficits by more than $1 trillion through 2025.
While these growth assumptions are baked into Price's budget numbers, they have not been confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office.
(Reporting by David Lawder, Roberta Rampton; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Susan Heavey and Tom Brown)
"I was pretty impressed with the creativity here -- I won't call it political gymnastics, but it certainly could be called parliamentary contortionism," said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who considers himself both a defense and deficit hawk, and is likely to back the budget.