Boehner: Republicans will rally around Ryan budget

WASHINGTON Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:35pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner declared on Thursday that a divided Republican caucus would rally behind the party's deficit-cutting federal budget plan when it comes to the House floor next week.

The plan, rolled out on Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, has caused some concerns among fiscally conservative Republicans who wanted deeper spending cuts and a path to balance the budget in 10 years.

But cuts to Medicare and other social programs could cause problems for more moderate Republicans who face tight re-election races in November.

None of the House's minority Democrats are expected to support the Ryan budget.

"I am confident that we will have the votes," Boehner told a news conference.

The Republican plan narrowly won approval in the House Budget Committee on Wednesday night, squeaking by on a 19-18 vote, with all Democrats and two Republicans voting against it.

One of the Republicans voting against it, the Tea Party-backed Congressman Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, had wanted to cut discretionary spending more.

A senior Republican aide with a Tea Party-backed lawmaker said the Ryan budget may have problems winning full House passage if all Democrats oppose, it as expected.

"It could be in trouble," the aide said, predicting as many as 30 or so House Republicans aligned with the Tea Party may vote against it.

Along with solid Democratic opposition, if 30 Republicans vote no and the remaining 212 Republicans vote yes, the measure would be six votes short of the 218 needed for passage.

(Reporting By David Lawder, Donna Smith and Tom Ferraro; Editing by Vicki Allen and Philip Barbara)

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