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Budget Battle Turns into Class Warfare

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Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., (AP File Photo)

House Democrats came out with guns blazing Tuesday, accusing Republicans of using their 2012 budget resolution to destroy entitlement programs for the elderly and poor.

House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said the plan shows that "the tea party has hijacked the Republican caucus."

"Here in Washington we hear that it's about the deficit," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut, "It's really about ending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as we know it."

Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., said that the Republicans were "waging war" on American workers. He alleged that the 2012 budget proposal, "Add(s) a second front: a war on seniors."

Becerra said plans to replace the current defined benefit Medicare program with a voucher system amounted to "Coupon Care."

"It will force seniors into the private market with a voucher that declines in value," said Van Hollen, "It shifts costs onto seniors."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Tweeted that the Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., budget plan is, "a path to poverty for America's seniors & children and a road to riches for big oil," playing off the plan's real name -- The Path to Prosperity.

Ryan seemed to forecast the comments when he sat down with Chris Wallce on "Fox News Sunday."

"We will be giving our political adversaries things to use against us in the next election," Ryan told Wallace, "and shame on them if they do that."

The fight over how to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year had its share of violent imagery as well. Larson called the most recent temporary extension bill, which has $12 billion in cuts to current spending levels "death by 1000 slashes." He later said that that the Republican's ideal budget "is government so small you can drown it in a bathtub."