House Republican leaders beat back conservatives' effort to substitute more drastic spending cuts than those contained in Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's fiscal blueprint, as Democrats forced the issue by voting present on the floor.
The RSC budget would slash domestic accounts much faster than Ryan's plan and freeze Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program funding at fiscal 2012 levels. It would achieve a balance in five years, compared to Ryan's version, which does not project balance until 2023.
Typically, Republicans can rely on Democrats to vote no on conservative amendments, which allows some middle-of-the-conference Republicans to vote "yes" on conservative proposals without the fear they will pass.
But on Wednesday, most House Democrats cast "present" votes. That meant that only Republicans would decide whether the RSC budget would replace the Ryan plan. The vote, scheduled for 15 minutes, lasted about 25 minutes.