In a prelude to a summer showdown with President Obama, Republicans controlling the House today passed a bold but politically risky budget blueprint to slash social safety net programs like food stamps and Medicaid and fundamentally restructure Medicare. The GOP plan, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, passed 235-193 with every Democrat voting "no." Obama said in an Associated Press interview that it would "make Medicare into a voucher program. That's something that we strongly object to."
The nonbinding plan lays out a fiscal vision cutting $6.2 trillion from yearly federal deficits over the coming decade. "If the president won't lead, we will," said Speaker John Boehner. "Now is the time to address the serious challenges that face the American people and we will." Obama saw the situation differently. In the interview, he said the Republicans' "pessimistic vision ... says that America can no longer do some of the big things that made us great, that made us the envy of the world." (Read more Paul Ryan stories.)