House, Senate GOP budgets have differences and similarities

Republicans controlling the House and Senate have unveiled competing budget plans. The nonbinding blueprints call for steep cuts to social programs like Medicaid and health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act as the chief means of balancing the budget within 10 years. But there are differences over defense and Medicare.

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Highlights of the House and Senate budget plans:

DEFENSE

House: The House would add up to $36 billion to President Barack Obama's $58 billion request for overseas military and diplomatic operations in the war on terror as a way to ease automatic cuts that limit defense spending to $523 billion next year. Only $15.5 billion of the money would be guaranteed; another $20.5 billion could be added if replacement spending cuts are found.

Senate: Maintains Pentagon spending at tight "caps" required under sequestration and matches Obama's $58 billion request for overseas anti-terror operations. Permits increased defense spending only if alternative cuts or revenues can be found.

MEDICARE

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House: Cuts Medicare by $148 billion over 10 years and recommends a new voucher-like program for beneficiaries entering Medicare in 2024 and later.

Senate: Cuts Medicare with $431 billion of unspecified reductions over 10 years, matching Obama's February budget.

SPENDING CUTS

House: Spending cuts total $5.5 trillion over 10 years, including $2 trillion from so-called Obamacare, $759 billion from nondefense agency operating budgets, and $913 billion from Medicaid and other health programs.

Senate: Cuts spending by $5.1 trillion over 10 years, including $4.3 trillion from so-called mandatory programs like Obamacare and $236 billion from nondefense agency operating budgets. Provides less detail than House plan.

TAXES

House: Assumes current "baseline" on tax revenue levels and comprehensive tax reform that would eliminate many tax breaks and lower tax rates on income and investments.

Senate: Same.