House Budget panel approves Ryan plan in 22-17 party-line vote

The House Budget Committee late Wednesday approved the latest budget from Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on a party-line 22 to 17 vote.

All committee Republicans voted for the fiscal 2014 plan, which now heads to the full House for floor consideration next week.

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The committee vote was smoother than last year’s process.

That budget passed out of committee on a single vote margin after two conservatives — Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — voted against it.

Huelskamp and Amash were removed by GOP leadership from the Budget Committee last year.

Ryan this year made a concession to conservatives and moved up the date when his budget would balance. Instead of taking until nearly 2040 to balance revenue and spending, the new Ryan plan has a $7 billion surplus in 2023.

To get there, the budget cuts $5.7 trillion, compared to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline. Under a separate baseline used by Ryan, which does not assume large savings from a reduction in war and disaster spending, his budget would reduce spending by $4.6 trillion.

Some conservatives in the House GOP conference could still oppose the Ryan plan over criticisms that it relies too heavily on tax revenue and for counting deficit reduction from the president's healthcare reform law.

To reach balance, the budget relies on $600 billion in new tax revenues from the January "fiscal cliff" deal and hundreds of billions of dollars in additional revenues being raised from rosier CBO economic growth forecasts.

It also relies on $716 billion in cuts to Medicare spending brought on in the Affordable Care Act. Ryan himself, as last year’s GOP vice presidential candidate, blasted Obama for making the same cuts.

The budget keeps tax increases that were passed as part of the healthcare law, as well, something committee Democrats pointed out during a marathon markup that lasted until nearly midnight.

“It is simply a hoax to say this budget both balances in ten years and repeals 'ObamaCare,'” ranking member Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said. “In fact, the dirty little secret is that this budget would not balance if not for the Medicare savings and all the revenues from ObamaCare.”

Van Hollen will once again offer his own budget alternative amendment next week on the floor.

In the Senate, Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Thursday will stage her own marathon markup of what is slated to be the upper chamber's first budget in four years. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to move the budget by the Easter recess.