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Republican House passes budget to erase deficits

March 25, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — Normally quarrelsome House Republicans came together Wednesday night and passed a boldly conservative budget that relies on nearly $5 trillion in cuts to eliminate deficits over the next decade, calls for repealing the health care law and envisions transformations of the tax code and social programs.

Final passage, 228-199, came shortly after Republicans bumped up recommended defense spending to levels proposed by President Barack Obama.

The plans themselves are non-binding and do not require a presidential signature. Instead, once the House and Senate agree on a common approach, lawmakers will have to draft legislation to carry out the program that Republicans have vowed to follow in the wake of campaign victories last fall that gave them control of both houses of Congress.

Much of the budget’s savings would come from programs that aid the low-income, although details were sketchy.

Democrats rebutted that the Republican numbers didn’t add up and called their policies wrong-headed.

The Republican-controlled Senate is likely to approve its version of a budget by week’s end.

Still, House passage of a budget marked a significant victory for Speaker John Boehner and the Republican leadership, which have struggled mightily to overcome differences within a fractious rank and file.

The budget outline itself provides few if any details of the cuts envisioned, although once they appear in legislation they are highly likely to spark a veto showdown with Obama.

The president has also vowed to defend the health care law that stands as his signature domestic achievement. The House has already voted more than 60 times to repeal it in part or whole, but for the first time since the law passed, House members have a willing partner in the Senate.

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Associated Press writer Erica Werner contributed to this report.

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