By JONATHAN WEISMAN
Published: March 21,
WASHINGTON — The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation to keep the government financed through September, and it also passed a Republican blueprint that enshrined the party’s vision of a balanced budget that would substantially shrink the government, privatize Medicare and rewrite the tax code to make it simpler and flatter. * As Senate Passes Spending Measure, Stark Budget Views Are on Display in House (March 21, 2013)
With a final flurry, Republican leaders sent the House home before noon Thursday for a two-week recess, confident that they had outmaneuvered President Obama and the Democrats in the running fiscal fight from the last redoubt of Republican control in Washington. Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, was already looking toward the next showdown, this summer, when the government’s statutory borrowing limit must be raised, to extract more concessions.
“Dollar for dollar is the plan,” Mr. Boehner said, reviving a rule, breached in January, that holds that any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by equivalent spending cuts.
The financing plan for the rest of the fiscal year, which passed by a vote of 318 to 109, averts the possibility of a government shutdown on Wednesday, when the current stopgap spending law expires. But it does more. It locks in across-the-board spending cuts that will usher in the most austere government outlook in decades. It underfinances key elements of the president’s health care law, as the administration builds up purchasing exchanges for health insurance. And it makes permanent four formerly temporary gun rights provisions, just as Senate Democrats prepare a final push on gun control legislation.
Four months after Mr. Obama was re-elected, the separate House budget plan — the third drafted by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman and former vice-presidential nominee — affirms the blueprint for governance that the president ran against.
It would convert Medicare into a system of private insurance plans financed by federal vouchers and roll back many of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative accomplishments. It would repeal the health care overhaul of