The House on Thursday passed a 10-year Republican spending plan drafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan that promises to balance the budget by cutting Democratic-championed programs like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps.
Republicans touted the largely symbolic spending framework as a fiscally responsible plan intended to rein in spending and chip away at the ballooning $17.5 trillion federal debt. Democrats said the plan would hurt the poor, elderly and disadvantaged.
"This document is our vision for getting Americans back to work and our budget back in balance," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The 219-205 vote was largely along partly lines, with 12 Republicans in opposition and no Democrats supporting it. The measure will die in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The budget plan calls for a $5.1 trillion spending cut over 10 years, including $2.1 trillion in cuts to health care subsidies and coverage under President Obama's Affordable Care Act, and $1 trillion in cuts to other benefit programs like food stamps, Pell Grants and farm subsidies.
Democrats say the plan would cause the United States to lose its global competitive edge by relying too heavily on cuts while not spending enough on education, infrastructure upgrades and research.
"This budget disinvests in those priorities, which will help us create jobs and grow our middle class," said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "It undercuts our ability to invest in economic competitiveness and the growth we need to secure the goal of a sustainable fiscal future."
House Democrats offered their own budget proposal, which closely resembled the spending plan introduced by President Obama last month. The plan was rejected along party lines.
But Republicans said the federal government cannot sustain its current spending levels and that Democrats' plan would wreak havoc on the economy. They add their plan would cut taxes for average working Americans.
"My Democratic colleagues believe the best way to move the country forward is with $1.8 trillion in new tax hikes, so this government can spend even more. That's not right and it's not fair," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
"Working Americans deserve a chance to put more of their hard-earned paycheck into their personal savings accounts, to invest that, or to spend it on their families before they are forced to send it to Washington."