ST. PAUL  (AP) -- The Minnesota House has approved deep cuts to projected health and welfare spending after a long debate.

The proposal approved early Thursday would cut projected health and social service spending by $1.7 billion over the next two years. The measure also brings sweeping change to Minnesota's public health care programs.

It's the final piece in budget frameworks assembled by both legislative chambers as majority Republicans attempt to erase a $5 billion deficit without state tax increases. The House approved the bill on a largely party-line vote of 70-62.

The bill's passage sets the stage for budget talks between GOP leaders and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

Lawmakers amended the bill late Wednesday to block penalties for those who refuse to buy health insurance as required by the federal health care overhaul.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)