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US House passes 3.4-trillion-dollar budget plan
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The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a 3.4-trillion-dollar budget plan that endorses much of President Barack Obama's agenda including health care reform.

The plan was approved by a 233-193 vote but no Republicans voted for it.

The House budget predicts that the federal budget deficit will rise to 1.7 trillion dollars in the ongoing fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2009, and then dip to 1.2 trillion dollars in the 2010 fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

The projected deficits would be much larger than the previous record of 454.8 billion dollars set in fiscal year 2008.

The huge deficits reflect the soaring costs of the government's economic stimulus package and financial rescue program, and the recession that has resulted in a sharp decline in tax revenue.

The recession, which started in December 2007, also has boosted government spending for benefit programs such as unemployment insurance and food stamps.

In February, Obama submitted to Congress a 3.6-trillion-dollar budget, which he later described as "an economic blueprint for our future -- a foundation on which to build a recovery that lasts."

The budget for the 2010 fiscal year, Obama's first one, seeks to shore up the world's largest economy while also overhauling health care, energy and education.

According to news reports, the House budget skirts difficult decisions on how to pay for Obama's health care plan, which is expected to cost more than one trillion dollars over the next decade.

The Senate is expected to vote on the plan soon, it was reported.

(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2009)

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