The House passed Republicans’ sweeping budget reform bill Friday, sending it to an uncertain future in the Senate.
The budget, which Republicans said would cut $4.4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade, was authored by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) and passed on a largely party-line vote, 235-193. No Democrats voted for the budget.
The Democrat-controlled Senate is not expected to take up the House budget, and in fact, it may end up not passing a budget this year at all.
Prior to the vote, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor praised the bill.
“The House Republican budget is an honest, fact-based proposal that details our vision for managing down our debt — and growing our way back to prosperity. With this budget, House Republicans are changing the culture in Washington from one of spending to one of savings,” the Virginia Republican said.
For days Democrats have hammered Republicans over the budget, charging it includes dramatic changes to Medicare and Medicaid, and many had speculated that a number of Republicans would balk at those provisions.
But only four Republicans voted against it in the end — Reps. Ron Paul (Texas), Denny Rehberg (Mont.), Walter Jones Jr. (N.C.) and David McKinley (W.Va.).
Rehberg is preparing for a race against incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D), and the elderly are a powerful voting bloc in the sparsely populated state. Democrats have vowed to use Friday’s vote as the basis of campaign ads and other attacks on Republicans, charging that they support gutting the popular Medicare program.
In a statement on his vote, Rehberg specifically cited the changes to Medicare, saying “there are still too many unanswered questions with regard to Medicare reform, and I simply won’t support any plan until I know for a fact that Montana’s seniors will be protected.”
After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was already making good on the promise to hammer Republicans.
“The Republican plan to end Medicare and immediately raise prescription drug costs for seniors in order to pay for millionaire tax breaks will never pass the Senate,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement. “The fact that it passed the House shows just how far to the right the Tea Party has dragged the Republican Party.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.