The House has passed an aggressive 2012 budget plan that would slash the federal budget and eliminate Medicare and Medicaid as we know them. On a strict party-line vote on Friday—only four Republicans opposed the plan—the chamber sent the bill to the Senate, 235-193. Don’t get too excited, though: Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged it will die there. The bill would cut the deficit by $5.3 trillion over the next decade and transform Medicare into a voucher program and Medicaid into a series of block grants to states. Even if it is doomed, the vote is the opening salvo for what promises to be a lengthy legislative maneuvering season as both parties position themselves for the 2012 election.
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