House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks about his budget plan, Tuesday, March 20, 2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

“I’m confident that we’ll have the votes,” Boehner said..

The committee voted Wednesday night to approve the budget and send it to the full House for consideration on a 19 to 18 vote. Two Republicans defected and joined all 16 of the panel’s Democrats in opposing the budget, which would reshape the tax code, make deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and eliminate deficits by 2040.

Despite the close vote, Ryan said the move was a sign that Republicans are eager to tackle the nation’s fiscal problems and stem government’s red ink. He contrasted the House action to the Democratically-controlled Senate, which has not adopted a budget in nearly three years.

“Elected representatives have a solemn obligation to help ensure that our children have more opportunity and inherit a stronger America than our parents gave us,” he said in a statement following the vote.

Democratic opposition came to the proposal’s deep cuts to the social safety network, paired with its proposal to drop the top marginal tax rate to 25 percent. During committee debate, Republican staff also acknowledged the budget proposes slashing highway spending for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 in half.

“To govern is to choose, but the Republican budget presents a false choice that further divides our country,” said Rep. Christopher Van Hollen (D-Md.) in a statement. They provide a gilded path to prosperity for the already wealthy, while leaving working Americans and future generations behind,”

The two Republican votes in opposition came from tea party-influenced freshmen Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. The two believe the budget does not slash spending quickly enough. The Club for Growth Wednesday declared the budget a disappointment for conservatives.

In an interview, Huelskamp said he did not believe the Ryan budget is the “bold statement Republicans need to make.”