McConnell, Romney, Freshmen Republicans Face Tough Questions On GOP Medicare Plan
The political fallout from Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan with its changes to Medicare continues to reverberate around the country.
The Hill: McConnell: Saying Medicare is off the table is 'silly talk' and 'nonsense'
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday that Medicare reform must be part of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, despite indications that changing the entitlement will be politically unpopular. Democrats made Medicare reforms pushed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) a central issue in a special election in upstate New York they won last week ... McConnell dismissed suggestions that the Democrats' success in that election would factor into negotiations to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit. He described suggestions that Medicare would not be part of a solution to reducing annual deficits as "silly talk' and "nonsense" (Bolton and Ryan, 5/27).
The New York Times: McConnell Downplays Politics of Medicare
In a news conference Friday, Mr. McConnell criticized his Democratic colleagues in the Senate for having 'no plan at all" to reduce the nation's deficit or to cut spending ... Mr. McConnell would not say whether he agrees with the House idea for Medicare, nor would he specify the amount of cuts he would require to vote to raise the debt ceiling. ... "Medicare is on the table," he said. "We don't have this problem because we tax too little. We have it because we spent too much" (Steinhauer, 5/27).
Politico: Mitch McConnell Agrees With Bill Clinton On Medicare
"All this silly talk about how Medicare is not going to be part of the solution is nonsense," McConnell said. "Let me just quote President Clinton I don't think the Democrats or the Republicans, said President Clinton, should conclude from that New York race that no changes can be made in Medicare. Medicare will be a part of any agreement" (Shiner, 5/27).
The Washington Post: Worst Week In Washington Winner: Paul Ryan
Republicans' loss in the New York special election last Tuesday proved one thing: Medicare is a political loser for the party at the moment. And that reality puts the spotlight squarely on Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan who authored the Republican budget plan that includes a dramatic overhaul of Medicare. While Ryan and his House colleagues stood by the plan, there was some evidence that not everyone in the party was singing from the same songbook (Cillizza, 5/28).
The Associated Press: Romney Hedges On Support For GOP Budget Outline
Likely presidential candidate Mitt Romney ... was asked by a reporter during a stop in a Des Moines suburb whether he would sign the Republican plan if he were president. But the former Massachusetts governor declined to answer. "That's the kind of speculation that is getting the cart ahead of the horse," he said. Romney emphasized that he supports the goals of the Republican plan, offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, but that he would offer his own proposal for reducing spending and cutting the federal deficit (Beaumont, 5/27).
Kaiser Health News: Fact Check: Pat Boone On The Ryan Plan
As some Republicans distance themselves from the unpopular House-passed budget that would radically change the Medicare program, the conservative seniors group 60 Plus isn't backing off. ... 60 Plus' celebrity spokesman, crooner Pat Boone, today released a statement promising to "lace up my white shoes and spread the news far and wide that this administration is trying to mislead and scare seniors." The Medicare proposal would raise the eligibility age to 67 and convert the program from a government-run, guaranteed-benefit system to one in which seniors get a set amount of money to buy private health insurance. ... Here's a look at some of Boone's claims (Werber Serafini, 5/27).
Related from KHN: Conservative Senior Group Comes Up Short In NY Race (Werber Serafini and Vaida, 5/26)
The Washington Post: GOP Freshmen Get A Tough Lesson In Politics
For the House's famous class of Republican freshmen, their first four months in office have brought a frustrating surprise. ... the same hoarse-throat tactics that helped them bring down incumbents last year - attacks on a health-care plan, town-hall heckling - have now been used against them. ... "Do we have an issue? Of course we do. There is a lot of fog getting thrown out, and I have people coming up and saying, 'I don't know who to believe,'" said freshman Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) on Wednesday (Fahrenthold, 5/27).