House shifts pending budget cuts from defense to entitlements

Republicans press for alternative to debt deal

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The White House also has called those defense cuts “destructive,” but its own plan to avoid them — Mr. Obama’s budget, submitted in February — has gone nowhere. The House defeated it by a vote of 414-0.

Still, the White House vowed to veto the GOP’s bill, saying it would hurt the poor and needy.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Mr. Obama has no viable alternative.

“My question for President Obama is, ‘Where is your plan to stop these automatic cuts from hollowing out our defenses?’ ” Mr. Boehner said.

In the vote, 16 Republicans joined 183 Democrats in opposing the legislation. They were a mixture of conservatives who thought the legislation still allowed too much spending and more moderate members of the GOP who objected to some of the cuts called for in the bill.

“Budgets need to be tough, but they also need to be fair,” said Rep. Charles F. Bass, New Hampshire Republican. “When attempts are made to address agricultural spending by eliminating fraud in the food-stamp program, but do not even begin to address the billions of dollars in direct subsidies to factory farms — that is not right.”

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