US passes Republican budget proposal

2012-03-30 12:03
Washington - The US House of Representatives approved on Thursday a contentious Republican budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 that would slash trillions in federal spending, revamp Medicare and reduce taxes for wealthy Americans.

The spending plan, unveiled last week by Representative Paul Ryan, is unlikely to become policy, but it frames the Republican Party's position on spending and debt reduction, and puts election-year pressure on Democrats over tax and spending issues.

"We are offering the nation a better way forward," Ryan told House members shortly before the chamber approved the resolution by 228 votes to 191, largely along party lines.

The proposal for fiscal year 2013, which begins on October 1, calls for $5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, and would slash the US deficit to $797bn next year, about $180bn less than under President Barack Obama's budget as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.

It also involves collapsing the six existing US tax brackets to two rates: a 10% bracket and a 25% bracket for individuals, and a 25% bracket for corporations, according to Ryan.

Representative Chris Van Hollen, whose Democratic budget alternative failed in the House minutes before approval of the Ryan plan, slammed the budget as a burden on average Americans.

"We don't think that it's bold to provide tax breaks to millionaires," he said.

"Show us how you make up for $4.6 trillion in lost revenue... without socking it to middle income taxpayers," he added. "We can do better."

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