After two days of debate and demagoguery, the House just passed Paul Ryan's controversial 2012-2013 budget, which would slash spending to 50-year lows, partially privatize Medicare, and lower marginal tax rates on the richest Americans. The 228-191 vote was largely symbolic, as the bill will now dance its way up the steps of the Democrat-controlled Senate, which will promptly kill it.
But in the upcoming election cycle, expect to see a lot of campaign ads touting votes for-or-against the divisive plan. Only ten Republicans voted "no," mostly popular incumbents.
Although the bill's spending cuts won't become law, the legislation charges six House committees to come up with plans to cut the deficit $261 billion by early May — again, plans that the Senate likely won't give a second look. Instead, Senator Harry Reid and company say they don't need to pass a budget at all, and plan to make do with last summer's debt-limit caps.
The House also unanimously rejected Obama's counter-budget today, by an embarrassing vote of 414-0. Even Democrats lined up as a bloc to vote against the president's plan — mixed spending cuts and tax increases — fearing that a "yes" could be characterized as an endorsement of all of its proposals.
The House also blazed through the Congressional Black Caucus's budget, 314-107: a plan that made far fewer cuts to services like food stamps than the Republican plan. They also did away with a bipartisan budget based on the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, 382-38.
At the end of the day, the sausage got made — but nobody's going to eat it. Except, perhaps, campaign advisers and reporters.