The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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March 22, 2013

Congress: How they voted: GOP budget, Democratic budget, White House tours

WASHINGTON — Here's how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending March 22.

HOUSE

2014 REPUBLICAN BUDGET: Voting 221 for and 207 against, the House on March 21 approved a Republican budget plan (H Con Res 25) that would reach balance by fiscal 2023 through steps such as changing Medicare into a voucher program; cutting Medicaid and food stamps and converting them to block-grant programs run by the states; repealing the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law and parts of the 2010 health law; cutting farm subsidies and slashing most discretionary spending programs other than defense.

The fiscal plan opens the door to possible changes in Social Security. For 2014, it sets federal spending at $3.53 trillion and projects a $528 billion deficit.

Authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., this budget bars any tax increases while cutting the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent; reducing the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent; cutting taxes on corporate profits earned overseas; repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and repealing tax measures in the 2010 health law.

Ryan said he would reform the tax code to pay the nearly $6 trillion, ten-year cost of those and other tax cuts, but left it up to the Ways and Means Committee to determine how that would be done.

Scott Garrett, R-N.J., said the GOP budget reforms the Tax Code in a way that "creates jobs, increases wages and helps the American family. (It) will protect and strengthen important priorities like Medicare and national security...(and) will also reform our welfare programs, such as Medicaid, so they can actually deliver on their promise and not go bankrupt."

Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said Republicans "would end Medicare as people have known it. Rather than have a guaranteed benefit, they turn it into a voucher. There would be no guarantee that people would be able to get the services they need.... Every year, that voucher would be capped, so they would have to buy a cheaper and cheaper policy with fewer and fewer benefits."

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