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Ryan Budget Vote Splits Along Party Lines

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Before heading out of Washington for their Easter break, lawmakers voted along party lines on a controversial Republican budget. Those party lines extended to D.C. region lawmakers who voted, and that vote sets the stage for elections in the region this November.

It's telling that every Democrat opposed the budget, dubbed the "Ryan Budget" after its author Re[p. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). Once again, the GOP plan turns Medicare into what amounts to a voucher program. It also cuts social programs and clean energy and transportation investments. 

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said after the vote that the Republican plan sets the nation on a dangerous path. 

"I think it's kind of an un-American budget in terms of the legacy that prior Congress have left, that you invest in the future, in the physical and the human infrastructure of this nation," he says. "It doesn't do any of that."

But Republicans say they are proud to run on the budget which is projected to cut more than $5 trillion dollars from the national debt over a decade. On the House floor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) hailed the GOP budget for painting a stark contrast between the two parties. 

"To preserve the independence of the people we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt," he said. "We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.

As alternative to the GOP plan, Democrats are once again calling on Republicans to entertain raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans as a way to ease the debt burden, but only 16 Republicans supported an alternative budget that included tax increases. Like his GOP counterparts, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) says he welcomes the looming ideological fight this fall. 

"This budget will be rejected in the United States Senate. The president has made it clear that he does not share this very cramped vision of America," he says. "So this debate will be one that we take into the election."

House Republicans have now doubled down on their deficit reduction plan that was first offered last year. As with all bets, analysts say it's a risky move, but one that all of the region's Republicans were willing to take.

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