A familiar budget plan to sharply cut safety-net programs for the poor and clamp down on domestic agencies performing the nuts-and-bolts programs of the government is cruising to passage in the tea party-flavored House.
The Republican measure is advancing to the finish line in the House as the Senate starts a lengthy slog toward passage of a rival budget measure. It takes a sharply different view, restoring automatic cuts to agency budgets and increasing taxes by $1 trillion over the coming decade.
The dueling budget plans are anchored on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum in Washington, appealing to core partisans in the warring parties gridlocked over persistent budget deficits. President Barack Obama is exploring the chances of forging a middle path that blends new taxes and modest curbs to government benefits programs.
The sharp contrast over the 2014 budget and beyond came as the House is positioned to clear unfinished budget business — a sweeping, government-wide funding bill to keep Cabinet agencies running through the 2013 budget year, which ends Sept. 30.
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