WASHINGTON — A bold but politically risky plan to cut trillions of dollars from the federal budget steamed toward a party-line House vote Friday, as insurgent Republicans rallied behind the idea of fundamentally reshaping the government’s role in health care for the elderly and the poor.
The GOP plan, expected to be voted on Friday, promises more than $6 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade compared with the budget that President Barack Obama offered in February, relying on stiff cuts to domestic agency accounts, food stamps and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled.
The GOP’s solution to unsustainable deficits that presently require the government to borrow more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends is to relentlessly attack the spending side of the ledger while leaving Bush-era revenue levels intact. It calls for tax reform that would lower the top income tax rates for corporations and individuals by cleaning out a tax code cluttered with tax breaks and preferences, but parts company with Obama and the findings of a bipartisan deficit commission, who propose devoting about $100 billion a year in new revenues to easing the deficit.
The Republican plan “disavows the relentless government spending, taxing and borrowing that are leading America, right at this moment, toward a debt-fueled economic crisis,” according to the document.
Democrats and many budget experts say this spending-cuts-only approach is fundamentally unfair, targeting social safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps while leaving in place a tax system they say bestows too many benefits on the wealthy.
Republicans shied away from tackling Social Security shortfalls, steering clear of a political minefield.