A fierce two-day debate over a Republican budget plan portrayed as either a path to prosperity or a road to ruin ended Thursday with House passage of a blueprint that would transform Medicare, cut domestic spending to levels not seen since World War II and order up a drastic overhaul of the tax code.

The plan, which passed 228-191, with no Democratic votes and 10 Republican defections, will form the template around which much of the 2012 election will be fought.

Democrats will try to hang its extensive changes to Medicare around the necks of vulnerable Republican candidates, along with the accusation that Republicans supported a program to punish the poor and elderly while rewarding the rich with still more tax cuts.

Republicans will say theirs is the party willing to make the tough choices to tame a soaring federal debt.

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